The story all begins in the late eighties with a red pen. Not a red ball point pen, one of those really neat red almost felt tip pens and me. I would say I was maybe 9 or 10 the afternoon I was asked "did you do something to my pen?" My response, "um, no. I didn't touch it."
If you are a parent you know I so touched that pen. Not only did I touch the pen I put the end of it (not the felt tip end) into my handy dandy pencil sharpener and I "sharpened it." Please don't ask me why I sharpened the end of the pen. Aren't there many times that you look at your children and ask "Why in heavenly days would you do that?" We may even sum it up in our heads with "those are your father's genes right there."
Besides being a snazzy felt tipped pen this pen was also unique because it belonged to my father. I believe he was the one to start the interrogation on me that afternoon. I stood there doe eyed thinking "how can I get out of this stupid decision I made?" So, I lied.
Inside the perfect world of my 10 year old brain that one lie would have sufficed. He would believe that his daughter could never do anything so stupid and the pen must of just been shedding it's plastic for the summer. And I'm almost positive he was thinking "those are her momma's genes right there."
I breathed a sigh of releif when he gave up his battle. Little did I know that was the calm before the storm as his reinforcements swooped in. As the youngest female in the house I knew I could hold my own if I faced my dad's muscle (my mom and older sister) one at a time. They were much smarter then me and decided to double team me as a took a bath. I held strong for a 10 year old, but they were better then anything you've seen on NCIS. They laid out the crime scene footage and broke my alibi apart, but the kicker was when I heard the statement "he is not mad at you, he is just very disappointed that you would lie to him." I confess! I confess! Please don't tell me that my father of all people is disappointed in me.
I balled (as y'all know I do that easily) my father sat on the diving board of our pool listening to my confession. He looked me in the eyes and said I shouldn't lie especially about something so small. In the scheme of things it was like a $2 pen (may less since it was the 80s) and it would have all been laughed at if I didn't choose to lie.
That brings me to this morning. I ran up the street to get JAG from our local National Tire and Battery. When I returned I noticed the foil over the pan of brownies was no longer as neat as I left it last night after our brownie sundaes. I peaked inside to see a small line of brownies had been removed. I looked at Shelby, who stood at the end of the counter doe eyed and questioned "did you have a brownie?"
"no. I didn't touch them."
"You didn't touch them. How did the foil get all jumbled?"
"Well I looked to see what it was, but I didn't eat any."
"You didn't eat any, but there is this uneven spot where they were butchered out of the pan. Did someone come in while I was gone just to steal a brownie?"
"I don't know. I didn't eat it"
JAG and I, as any other parent who about to lose their head would do, sent her to her room. I stood their in the kitchen thinking "Red Pen! Red Pen!" This is so tiny, so small that it's not a big deal at all for her to have brownie. We would have said "Shelby Elizabeth don't have chocolate before I pump you full of sugar with cinnamon rolls. It makes me look bad as a parent."
Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to say that, so we decided to give her a mulligan. We called her out of her room sat her at the table and asked one more time. She knew she was busted and came clean. The first words out of my mind and mouth is "I am so disappointed." I explained as I have before that it's hard to trust her with the big things when she lies about the smallest things possible. Come on Shelby save the lies for the big things, save them for when you are 16 and back your parent's car into a tree. That "I just found the car that way" would be a better use of your lies then "I didn't eat a brownie at 9 am." I know, I know no lie is a good lie - I'm just making a point.
I wish I could say that the red pen ended my lying career, but I can tell you that every minute of that afternoon has stuck with me for twenty-five years. I hope brownie-gate sticks with Shelby as the day she felt the disappointment of her mother, but I'm sure she will only remember that I made her sugary cinnamon rolls for breakfast and not even homemade ones.
I pray that honesty will eventually not be a topic i have to discuss with Shelby everyday - honestly, this is a hard battle.