The Big Bad, Part 1

I’ve been putting off writing this blog post. I wasn’t certain how to write it, how to tell this part of our story, though it is critical for understanding how we got to where we are at now, in this sometimes bizarre adventure called life. My last couple of posts about my son have been more positive stories, partly because I couldn’t deal with telling “The Big Bad” just yet, but also because these stories are part of our current reality. And I REALLY needed to put a couple out there that wouldn’t make my Mom cry. So Mom, I apologize in advance, you already know this story so you can stop reading now if you want, I won’t take it personally, but if you want to read on you need to know, THIS is the one…

In my post The End of the World as You Know It, I told you about my son smoking pot for the first time. I wish I could say that was the only time, but there were others, and it began to become more of a regular activity for him on the weekends over the next couple of months. As I struggled to find a way to deal with it, the decision was made for me. When his next report card came, his grades had dropped significantly. That was it, no more. He was grounded during the week, the Xbox was taken away and he wasn’t allowed to do anything but study. I let him continue to have a social life on the weekends, but no more smoking pot or drinking. He had forced us into a zero tolerance situation, in which he had to prove himself through better focus on his school work. Once he got his grades back up, then we would see about more leniency.

The group of kids that he had been hanging out with throughout this time were the more “popular” kids, the ones who had girl friends, and always had parties to go to on the weekends. My son had apparently blown off his previous group of friends to hang out with these kids. This was one of his first harsh life lessons. The popular kids no longer wanted to hang out with him once he wasn’t allowed to drink or smoke pot with them anymore. They started blowing him off, and it hurt him, a lot. We went through a rough period where he had no one to hang out with, he was very lonely, and seemed depressed. It was terrible, my heart ached for him, but there was nothing more I could do than to suggest he tried to work things out with his old friends, which he didn’t seem to have an overwhelming interest in making happen.

He had begun eating his lunch in the library at school because he had no one to sit with in the cafeteria. He said that he was fine with this because it gave him more time to get his homework done, but that was just his toughness talking, I knew how lonely he was. It was in that library where a terrible decision was made that would change everything for him.

The week after Thanksgiving, while at work, I received a call from the vice-principal at his school. My son had been found with drugs in his possession, and I needed to get over to the school as soon as possible to talk to the officer and deal with the situation. Drugs? At school? Police…?

I think the only way I can describe what happened next was that I went into shock. I started crying, I could barely speak, my boss and co-workers gathered around me to try to find out what happened. I don’t know what I said to them, I felt like my universe was falling apart and that all of the hopes and dreams I had for him were rapidly being washed away by the hard rain of the reality we had just found ourselves in. The next thing I knew, I was at the school, my boss had driven me there, and I had to go inside. I forced myself to move, to get out of the car, to walk inside. I had to pull it together to deal with this. I had somehow called my father on the drive, he’s a lawyer, and I needed to know what to do or not to do when I walked in there. He gave me quick legal advice and told me to call him right away if they wouldn’t let him leave with me. I felt like I was the child who had just gotten into trouble as I walked into the principal’s office, but I was the adult, and I had to find the strength to behave like one.

I saw my son sitting there, he had clearly been crying and wouldn’t look at me. The principal explained to me what had happened, and what would happen next. They had busted another kid for trying to sell drugs at school, prescription pills he had taken from his parents. When they asked him who he had sold the drugs to, he told them he had given some to my son to help sell for him. When they called my son down to the office, they simply asked him if he had anything he wanted to tell them. He said yes, he had been holding two bottles of pills that another kid had given him to sell, but he didn’t know what to do with them. He took them out of his backpack and handed them over. He hadn’t taken any, or sold any, but he had had them for two weeks, and just didn’t know what to do with them.

This other kid was someone he had met in the library at lunch, and he didn’t seem to have any other friends at the school, so when he started sitting with my son during that time, they became friends. My son said he felt bad for him, because most of his classes were actually in the library (something which made no sense to me at the time, but I would find out a great deal about later). When the kid said he needed money, and he was trying to sell these pills to get some, he asked if my son could help him out with it, he really needed the help. So he took the bottles, put them away, and planned on giving them back to him after some time had passed, and would tell him that he couldn’t sell them. Unfortunately, it didn’t go that way.

Papers were presented to me, the principal spoke, and I tried to absorb what he was saying, but I was so focused on trying not to cry, and feeling so much pain and guilt, I had a hard time focusing on all of his words. He was being suspended for two weeks. The police officer would be calling me the next day to set up an appointment for us to go down to the station. Okay, so he wasn’t being arrested, at this point anyway. He was coming home with me, but first we had to go straight to the school’s doctor for drug tests, this was something that could not be put off for even an hour. That was it, the principal was done speaking. He was sad, he really liked my son, and he was very disappointed in the situation he had gotten himself into. He said that they were recommending the most lenient punishment to the police because he was so forthcoming and honest with them. But none of us had any idea what his punishment would be. That was now going to be something for the courts to decide. I signed the paperwork he had given me and we left. My heart was broken, so much more broken than anything I had ever experienced before in my life. I had absolutely no idea how to handle anything that was coming next.

To be continued…


23 thoughts on “The Big Bad, Part 1

    • Cindee, thank you so much for saying that! I have been terrified of this post, and the ones that will come to finish the story, but this was the catalyst for starting to write the book, which has now become this blog. I know others are going through things similar to my story, or at least some parts of it, and if that can help anyone else, then it’s a story I need to share.

      • Wow, Kate…First of all, I feel for you and for your son. I cannot even imagine all the bad thoughts that must have overwhelmed you from the moment you found out and until you got to his school. It had to be a relief that he was not dealing drugs and he was trying to be helpful. I am sure he has learned a painful lesson but he is a good kid. I know you know that and that must be an oasis in this temporary hell you are going through. I admire you for being as strong as you are plus having the fortitude to express your feelings and private live in this blog. You are a very good writer (and photographer; your son’s picture, staring out of the window portrays the emotion of the story plus his).

    • Yep, probably word for word… Thanks for being there for me through it all, and taking the time to read it again now! Love you!

  1. And cue “the hard part of being a parent”.
    What a tough situation. It’s also a perfect teaching opportunity, learning opportunity, life-changing opportunity – so much good could come out of it and I hope it does in Part 2.

    • Thank you! Part 2 is a little rough, and right now it’s looking like it will be Part 3 that’s a more positive story. We have learned a lot through all of it though, and honestly, the way I have viewed it from the beginning is that he was most likely on a more dangerous path, to have happen what we did, when we did, has to have been a blessing because it changed the course of what would have come. Life is a work in progress, focus on positivity is required every single day.

  2. Wow, being a Mom really is the hardest job in the world. I thought chasing a toddler around all day was tough, I can’t imagine having to deal with these types of challenges. Your son is lucky to have such a caring and level-headed mom. I hope everything works out for you both!

    • Thank you! The story gets a bit worse before it gets better, but we’re in a good place now, and just taking it day by day. The best advice I can ever give anyone is to be as present as possible and to enjoy every minute you can, because that’s what will keep you grounded when they get older and can sometimes be a little less likeable 😉

  3. oh my goodness, you just tweeted me about your bf being inpatient, and now i come here and read this. so much pain and heartache, i think even MORE now you need to just let it all out! i wish i was somewhere somehow able to just give you a big hug (and yes i know that’s weird cause i don’t even know you) but your pain is so palpable.
    you MUST be a strong person to even be telling this story – and I know you are going to help your son become the best he can be out of this situation because YOU are a strong momma, stronger than all this crap!
    holding you in my thoughts and prayers and sending hugs out to you wherever you are.

    • Thank you so much, and the hugs ARE felt and much appreciated!! After 2 nights in the hospital with no sleep, I’m not feeling so strong, but am home now to get rest and for time with my son, heading back into the hospital in the morning for my bf’s surgery. As far as this story goes, my writing is the best therapy I’ve ever had (and I’ve had LOTS!) My son and I will make it through this phase in our lives, and we’ll both be the better for it. I did take your losing it in the bathroom advice, up until about 3:00 this morning, when I started openly crying, which didn’t help anyone, which is also why I’m home sleeping tonight. I’ll be that rock of strength again (and crying IN the bathroom) tomorrow… Thanks again for the love!

  4. What a tough thing to share. I can empathize with wanting one thing for your child and finding that you must travel down a less desirable and least expected path. Sharing the story will hopefully help you feel better despite the difficulty of the situation.

  5. Oh my, you’re very brave for sharing this story. I’m so sorry this happened, and I hope (with Part II) that solutions were found and things are better. And here I am, parenting a toddler and bitching about it. This really puts things into perspective.

  6. Oh my god. My heart breaks for you. I don’t know if you’ve read my bio or know of my ACOA history but I’m very familiar with alcohol/drug issues and addiction. I can’t tell you what to do here but I will say that Alanon meetings saved my ass. They are for families of drug addicts and alcoholics, and concerned parents dealing with issues like the one you have here.
    In my opinion your zero-tolerance policy is excellent. If he has tested positive for drugs or you find them on him again, don’t let him blame other kids or say he was doing a friend a favor etc. because he now knows right from wrong. If he doesn’t get on the right track you might consider a rehab program for teens, or a different school if that is possible. It sounds like your school has an excellent administration and they are understanding yet firm.
    I’m so sorry you have to go through this.
    Trust me – your tough love zero-tolerance approach is a good one. He needs you right now and he needs to have limits, and rules keeping him away from harm.
    I am sending you a huge virtual hug. If you ever have any questions you can email me directly at
    Check out Alanon. It is a haven, ,and it’s free. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

  7. I have to agree with Ado. I don’t know what happens in Part 2 but I hope it gets better. Keep up the zero tolerance, the limits, the boundries, the strictness. Believe me, he NEEDS this more than anything. I only have 2 boys under 4 but my brother is 32 and an addict/alcoholic…unfortunately my Mother was far too lenient and he began at a very young age making very bad decisions. I certainly do NOT want this to happen to your son or anyone else’s. It’s been very, very tough on our family (I don’t talk about it AT ALL on my blog) and I cannot imagine how my parents cope with it on a daily basis. I truly wish this all works out for everyone. Hugs to you.

  8. Oh, that sounds hard. But, teenagers can make REALLY stupid decisions – and this doesn’t mean that things won’t be okay for him, down the road. Maybe a little ways down the road. I think I made my parents feel similarly to you, when I was in high school, but thankfully I ended up ok in the long run. Hang in there.

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