Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Missing Lunch Money (Part I)

   I got a call from the kids' school yesterday.  My hand shook as I answered; let's just face it, calls from school are never a good thing, at least when The Scribe is concerned.  I love that kid, really.  She's feisty and sassy.  Do you remember the time she put cat poop on the teacher's chair? Or when she taped a kick-me note onto a girl's back?  When she got muddy playing football with all the boys? Or when she thought she was about to die from a terminal illness?  Well, that's my nine-year-old tomboy.  And I think she's hilarious.
    Now, The Hippie on the other hand is VERY straight laced.  If you ask her how many days she's gone to school, she would tell you.  She knows how many days she's missed too.  The Hippie always wins at the game "Memory."  She always does things perfectly; that kid enjoys wearing fancy bows, dresses AND hand sanitizer.  She always goes to sleep at 7:35--on the dot--she's very punctual.
    As a side effect, there are many days when I hear The Scribe saying, "Why is The Hippie so perfect?  I'm always doing stupid things and she never gets in trouble."
    Although she can be a hand full, The Scribe doesn't realize how much laughter all her schemes bring to my heart.  
    But The Scribe isn't the only one I'm worried about today because right now I'm wondering if The Hippie is getting enough attention.  The Scribe does so many wild and crazy things, I'm always dealing with her shenanigans (laughing as soon as I leave the room), while The Hippie watches quietly, just doing her schoolwork all the while.
    I guess that's why yesterday shocked me, because when I got a call from school, it was about The Hippie.
    "She what?" I asked.   
    After a long conversation, tears filled my eyes. (I'll have to explain more about this tomorrow.)  Let's just say, I was very proud of my middle daughter.
    As I hung up the phone, I sat stunned, and decided it was time to spend an extra moment with each of my girls.  
    I picked them up after school, scheduled a babysitter for my two younger kids, and took my oldest girls out for a date one at a time.
    My date with The Scribe went perfectly.  The two of us are so much alike; we always have a blast.  
    But when I went out later with The Hippie, I got a big surprise.  
    "Someone from your school called today," I told her while we sat at a fancy restaurant.
    She looked up with concern, obviously wanting to do anything to be a good little girl.
    "I'm so proud of you," I said.  "What you did, well that was amazing."
    "What are you talking about, Mom?  I thought I'd be in trouble."
    "Why?  That was a wonderful thing to do.  Not many children would . . ."  I paused then.  "Wait, what do you think I'm talking about?"
    Tears brimmed in her eyes.  I'd never seen her like that; she must have done something terribly wrong.
    My heart fell into my butt.  Was this a moment where you go to congratulate someone and find out they're a big, fat sinner?  Like the time my Uncle brought his wife some flowers and SAW her having an affair--that must have been crappy.
    I thought of that and turned into a statue, barely moving my stern face as I said, "I brought you here, so you could tell me your side of the story."
    Her darling hands clasped each other.  She sat straight and looked at the table. 
    "Well, Mom," she said.  "It all started with some mints and some missing lunch money, and then well . . . It ended with a handicapped girl."
    The waitress brought our food, but I didn't even look up.  I just gaped at The Hippie.
    "So, what happened?"
    She told me the story.  And for the next hour, I didn't devour anything except all of the details she gave me.
    "Wow," I said, choking on a sob.  "I'm just still so surprised."

To be continued . . .