After I dropped my “Toys For Tots” donation at a local real estate office, I spotted a brochure listing a large estate they have listed for sale at the far reaches of our development. We had been to the estate sale before they tore down the original farm house on the property. It was an interesting old house with antique crown molding throughout. There is almost 40 acres of land for sale which has already been subdivided for development. I brought the brochure home because I knew the place was a favorite hangout for our sons, and knew they would find the facts surrounding the property interesting. Sure enough, they read all about it and were now aware that it was all for sale for about $4 million.
I had known that our sons, 18 and 20 years old, had been hanging out at ”the estate” for a long time. They saw it as a private oasis where they could go hang with their friends and do the things we like to do at their age which we aren’t free to do at home. It seemed that the place had been abandoned after they tore down the original house on the property. I never gave much thought about who owned the property or whether they cared that kids were hanging around up there. I suppose I figured if there was a problem, whomever owned the place would see to it that it was properly dealt with.
One snowy Saturday morning my sons were at the house with some friends. They ventured out in the snow in a Jeep and another car.
After a busy Saturday morning I was getting ready to hit the couch with my dog and a movie when I saw a police officer out my window walking up my front walk. I got up to start the long, slow walk to my door, silently praying that this would not be the knock at the door by a police officer that changes one’s life forever.
I opened the door and shook hands with “Officer Joe”, a friendly young officer who has known my kids for most of their lives since he taught the DARE program in their middle school and was always in the loop whenever they were in trouble around town. “Are they here?” he asked. I told him they were out, but he was referring to whether they were home from college for the holidays since he figured they are college age by now. I explained that they live here full time since they both work for their father nearby. “Who has the Jeep?”. All I knew was it was one of the girl’s. Didn’t know her name. Joe seemed incredulous that I knew so little about my son’s friends.
I was relieved this was not the “dreaded” knock on the door, but was still concerned to know what brought Joe to the house. He explained that the estate is now for sale and the owner has hired a full time caretaker who spotted a Jeep up there earlier and they had taken down a chain that was put up to block the entrance. I knew a friend had a Jeep, but I didn’t know if she was a true “girlfriend” or what her name was. I felt a little foolish for being so ignorant about my own sons. Joe made polite conversation, I updated him on the boys’ lives, how they were doing, etc.
Joe asked if I could please speak to the guys about trespassing at the estate. I told him I would for sure, but I knew my advice would fall on deaf ears. I asked Joe if they could now be arrested for what they had done since they are now “adults”. He definitely looked at me like I was crazy. I’m their mother, after all. Why would I want to see them get arrested? I tried to act as if this was not my wish, but I did ask Joe if he could return to speak to the boys himself because I thought that he would have more of an impact than their mother with his uniform, gun and badge. He gave me his card, told me he was working until 6:00, and we agreed that I would call when the guys got home and he would be happy to speak to them. I suppose I harbor some guilt as a mom for my sons being so poorly disciplined. I knew they would think I was joking if I tried to have a serious conversation about trespassing.
Around an hour later, I was at the far end of the house when I heard voices at the other end. I knew they had returned with their friends. I called the police department and asked that officer Joe be dispatched to my house.
When all the kids had assembled in my living room, I came out of the bedroom and had the talk with them about trespassing I promised Joe I would have. They tried to deny they had been up there. I explained there had been a witness and they were busted. Told them Officer Joe had been here. I went into the next room and waited patiently.
Joe came to the door while everyone was still in the living room. I let him in. The greeting among everyone was more friendly than intimidating. Joe gave them the lecture about the party being over at the estate. They tried to argue about being there at all, but he shut them down with the eye witness story. I pointedly asked Joe what could happen if they got caught and could they be arrested? He explained to them that he would have to arrest them if he caught them up there. Then he asked my younger son how old he was. He replied that he is 18.
I have felt that I have been almost completely ineffective as a disciplinarian, and was grateful to feel I was getting a boost from law enforcement.
I know I may have seemed weird to the officer, but I don’t really care.