Today my kids finished sixth and eighth grade. I cannot believe that I have a child entering high school and three entering middle school. I feel like I was just taking my oldest into kindergarten orientation yesterday. It’s crazy how fast the years fly by. But that’s not my reason for posting today. Instead of sharing my disbelief about how quickly the kids are growing, I’m sharing my disbelief that I was called by my sons sixth grade principal yesterday for possible involvement with vaping.
VAPING. My 12 year old.
It’s been 24 hours since the call and I had a talk with my son about sharing the situation with other people, specifically parents. Not to share that he vaped, but how we handled it. He was nervous, but I assured him that life isn’t always pretty. As parents, we want our kids to travel on the right road, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be potholes hit along the way. It’s OK IF you learn from them and avoid them ahead. Thankfully I was prepared for this pothole moment, and although I hated that it was here, I was in fact ready. And I want you to be too.
Here’s the story of how I was able to know the truth about my sons involvement with the possible vape situation.
Yesterday my sons team had their end of year picnic. It was at a park for a few hours with free time to play. I was a little concerned about the amount of free time they had at a park. Most kids would be fine with that, but for my son, I was worried. He is a great boy. He’s kind, he’s caring, he’s outgoing; but he’s a modern day Eddie Haskell. If he is given enough time and too much freedom, something is bound to go awry. And awry, it did… all due to poor choices.
My son was with a group who decided to go climb trees in a wooded area. Poor choice number 1. It was also at that time that a vape was brought out. Although my son claims this was unexpected, no one left the area at that moment. Poor choice number 2. When they did resurface from the woods, they were met by a teacher who asked for their bags. My son didn’t have one as he only brought a basketball to school that day, but after searching other bags, a vape was in fact found.
Having three kids in school, I received a text from my hysterical daughter, that this happened. She was swearing he did not partake. Then came the call from the principal. I drove to the school to talk with him. I always knew the kids would one day test the waters, but at 12? Thankfully a girlfriend of mine warned me a year ago that it is smart to keep vape (nicotine) and various drug test dip sticks on hand. While I hoped to never have to use them, I followed her advice last summer and ordered them from amazon. I never would have known they existed, nor did the principal, who has been a high school and middle school principal for years.
My son vehemently denied that he partook in the vaping yesterday. Some kids of course are saying he did, some are saying he didn’t. While he was upset about the rumors, he knew the truth and I wanted to believe him, but I could not bury my head in the sand with this, as much as I would have loved to do. I needed proof. Thank God for those tests. They are urine activated dip sticks and will give an answer in as little as 30 seconds. I have them for nicotine/marijuana and a few other nasty things. Thankfully the test proved my son was telling the truth and did not vape yesterday. 100 lbs lifted from my shoulders immediately but it also opened my eyes to what these kids are being exposed to. What they see so often apparently, they aren’t horrified.
Did my son make the wrong choice to walk into the woods? Indeed he did. Should he have walked away? Yep. But in a way, this has been a blessing in disguise. He has learned that every action has a consequence. He has also learned that he does not like to be the topic of conversation in a negative way ESPECIALLY when it’s not true. People talk, people spread rumors, people assume…it doesn’t just happen in the sixth grade. It happens every day at every age. If you don’t want people to talk, do not be involved. Make the smart choice. I think a lesson was learned..albeit a hard, uncomfortable way.
I’m also happy it happened now, before he gets older and the situation could be worse. I think my son is as well. He’s learned it’s not a cool thing. He doesn’t like his image to be tarnished. He doesn’t like people saying he did something he didn’t. He is actually the one who asked if I would help share this story. More to clear his name, but I want parents to be aware these kits exist.
Some may say it’s too much to share, but I share the good and the bad because well, this is life and no one is perfect. We learn from mistakes, and from one mom to another, I want to share what I’ve learned. I want you to be prepared for the moments you least expect too. Because it’s going to happen and it’s going to suck. But it can suck less if you’re prepared. And have friends who bring wine after a crap day.
It takes a village.