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Kept Secrets

One thing I find really fascinating after becoming a parent is learning the well kept secrets of the parents who came before you. This past week an old friend posted something on Facebook, and tagged me and our core friend group from our teenage years in the post. The post was simple, just an inside joke from a incident that happened when were were younger. We teased the friend who was the butt of the joke in the comments and shared a laugh from across state lines. The significant other of the friend who was the butt of the joke had also commented, asking to be filled in on the embarrassing secret. The teasing continued a bit, but then the mother of the two sisters in the group commented saying one day we would all need to sit down so she could hear all of our stories and secrets from those days. That is when I had the realization that she probably already knew a vast majority of these secrets. While we all thought we were smart as Hell during this time, we were actually all idiots. There is no way that the mother of these two sisters, whom had known them their entire lives, didn't know when a majority of the lies were told and when secrets were hidden. Seeing how me and the other friend also spent a vast majority of these later teenage years as guests in her home, she probably learned our tells as well for when we were hiding something. I, as a mother now to an almost five year old, can tell exactly when he is bending the truth, and trying to keep something hidden. Now, someone between the ages of seventeen and nineteen years old would have a higher capacity to tell a lie and keep a secret than a five year old, but a mother to the seventeen or nineteen year old also has far more experience in sniffing out the lies. So the truth is, she does likely know most of our secrets from youth, and likely just wants to confirm what she was right about, and fill in the blanks of what lies may have been missed.

Now you may be wondering, well if she was aware of most of you and your friends secrets why didn't she call them out. Well, I would think she didn’t for the exact reason I sometimes pretend to be oblivious when my son is trying to hide that he is doing, something he shouldn't be. Sometimes a child needs to learn the rules exist and we give them long boring lessons for a reason. If you are aware your child is breaking the rules, but not in any danger, you sometimes just let it happen, being fully aware and ready to step in and fix their mistake. Like in the instance of this particular story of ours, we were exactly where we told our parents we would be. We were on time for being home when we said we would be. All that happened was something got broken due to being a little irresponsible and not paying enough attention. Now that is when the lie came in, how the said item was broken. Of course we told our parents the item was broke not by us, but we had found it that way when we came back to it. All of our parents had told us thousands of times to always pay attention and be careful, but we weren't. So we lied about it, so we would not get into trouble. Now I very much doubt the excuse of ‘we found it that way’ was believed for a second. My friend still had to pay for the fixing of the item with their own money. But other than that, there were no other repercussions. We felt we got off easy, but in actuality we all learned a lesson. I can guarantee you when any of us find ourselves in the particular situation of when that item was broken now, we all pay extra attention. So sometimes you have to let your kids get away with a small lie, so they can learn a life lesson on their own. Much like how my son has learned sneaking candy in the morning is a very easy way to get a stomach ache.

It’s funny to think back to the sorts of punishments you received as a teenager for when were we're caught breaking a rule. Maybe you’d get grounded, maybe you lost your car privileges, maybe you were not allowed to see your boyfriend or girlfriend for a few days. Whatever was the center of your world, you lost. Can you imagine these sort of punishments as an adult? I would love to get grounded now. You mean I have to sit in my room all by myself for a week, only leaving it for family meals I didn't cook? Sign me up! I mean my birthday and Mother’s Day is coming up, someone tell my husband I want to be grounded! I mean I’d actually have the time to put a decent sized dent in the “haven’t read yet’ section of my bookshelf. But doing wrong in adulthood has far worse repercussions. Lose your job, lose your house, lose your life type repercussions. It’s weird to think we are learning these kind of important life lessons just from losing a Friday night out. When it comes down to it, that is really all parenting is, teaching your children about the pain and suffering that can come from life if you do wrong and don’t follow the rules that are set out in front of you. When you are a kid, losing a privilege can feel like the worst possible thing that could ever happen. But losing that privilege is just the Disney version of what life can hand you if you in the future when you are on your own, and navigating through society.

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