Alright. I need the advice and opinions of my blogger friends out there as most of you seem very honest and intelligent. I had a situation occur this weekend that has left me upset and angry and confused and I can’t tell if I’m justified in feeling this way or not.
What happened was this:
Matthew has a friend at school and his name is Scott. Scott has a younger brother a little older than Owen and the four boys are friends and frequently play at our two houses. The mother is going through a rough time as she is in the middle of a divorce from an abusive man and dealing with being a single mother and it amazes me that she is willing to add my boys to her routine at times.
I don’t have a real problem with this woman other than little things that bug me. For instance, if they call and I don’t pick up, they just come over. In fact, they stop by unannounced alll the time and it drives me crazy. Also, I get the idea sometimes that her boys are sort of using us for our electronics…. the gamecubes, the Wii, the handhelds…. you get it. They are constantly asking to borrow our games and systems but they break them so I refuse to allow them out of the house. It gets really old having to sit there and tell them no when they do a personal inventory of our stuff and then ask for it. I feel like an asshole but the stuff is expensive and they simply don’t take care of it.
So, on Friday, the mother calls us to see if the boys want to go on Saturday morning to a box car race. We see no issue with that as it is being hosted by the boy scouts. So, Dean takes the boys over there and a few hours later, the mother calls us and wants to know if she can take the boys to a sleepover at her sister’s house in Bremerton, about forty five minutes away from here. They will spend the night and attend a birthday party and then be home on Sunday afternoon. She assures us that she will be there the entire time and at first, I am not cool with this.
Dean and I discuss it and finally agree to allow them to go. The mother has a cell phone and tends to call us every five minutes and so we don’t think to ask for the sister’s phone number because we are idiots and assume that we can reach them on the cell.
Off they go after stopping by the house to pick up some backpacks with jammies and whatnot.
Dean and Olivia and I hang out all weekend and enjoy the calm but on Sunday, I start thinking it odd that we haven’t heard from the mother. We begin to call and she never picks up. By four in the afternoon, I start to panic a little because we can’t reach them. By five, I’m freaking out. By six, I am on the verge of crying because I’m worried about my boys and don’t know where they are, if something has happened. I start to wonder if she has kidnapped them, if they have been in an accident…. all kinds of stuff. I try to relax and send Dean to the store assuming that the boys will be back by the time he gets home. At this point, I am calling her phone every five minutes and am near tears.
By seven o’clock, I am contemplating calling the police. I have no clue why I haven’t heard from them and I’m scared and angry. Dean and I decide to wait until eight and then make some calls because our kids have no identification on them…. something we will change immediately. A few minutes before eight, the phone rings. Dean lunges at it and it’s the mother. He says hello and is greeted with:
“Hi. Is Owen allergic to bee stings?”
Dean says he doesn’t know because Owen has never been stung before and asks why.
“Well, because I didn’t know that he was up in a tree or that there was a bee hive nearby and now he’s been stung a number of times in the face and neck. He is swelling up and I can’t tell if he is having an allergic reaction or not.”
Dean goes ballistic. I go ballistic.
We demand that she return our boys to us as it is very late and also a school night. She says she is on her way.
A half hour later, she calls and hasn’t left yet. This time, I pick up the phone and rudely tell her that she has worried me sick. Her response to this is, “why?” I tell her because she took off with my boys, hasn’t called or answered her phone and didn’t return when she said she was going to. She tells me she is now on her way.
My children are returned to me after nine at night. I am livid as is Dean. Owen is puffy but happy to be home. Matthew has lost his voice probably from screaming his head off. All four boys commence to tearing apart our house and Matthew stops to inform Dean and I that he is a Christian now as they have taken him to church.
He excitedly tells me of some church classes he took that were just for men and he was taught something about learning a power of righteousness that men must learn but women already have. He is begging to be taken back to church. I tell him that it is late and that we’ll talk some more tomorrow.
After they are all in bed, I sit down with Dean and am very upset by the whole weekend. I am very upset about the church thing. Dean and I have always kept a lot of books on various religions and faiths in the house and told our kids that religion is a very personal choice and we will support them in whatever they decide when they are old enough to make the decision. We have told them that we will help to teach them about the differences in each religion and help them to find places where they can be educated on it to assist them in making this decision. We have explained that we believe that spirituality is very important but that they must find which religion they connect to on their own without the brainwashing of anyone. We greatly looked forward to participating in this journey with them.
I’m really pissed off that this woman took them to church without asking us. I’m angry that we know nothing about this church. I’m angry that she took it upon herself and left us out of the journey.
To be perfectly blunt, there are a lot of churches that I don’t want my kids to go to if they choose Christianity. I don’t want them learning certain fire and brimstone, Old Testament ideas like anti-homosexuality or men being better than women, angry, uncompassionate gods. I don’t want them involved with bigotry in any way. And, she took them to a church that immediately started teaching them that there are differences in men and women and I don’t like it. Matthew is obsessed, now.
I do not want to give my child the impression that we don’t support him on this, but I’m angry to be forced into this position because someone else took it upon herself to influence him behind our backs. I don’t want my child to feel resentment to us if we don’t allow him to go back to that church. I worry that if we try to encourage him into exploring his options, he will take that as though we don’t trust his judgement. I’m not sure what to do but want my parental control back. I don’t want to decide his religion for him and will take him to church if that’s what he wants, but as the adult, I want to ensure that he isn’t taught things that I find to be disgusting.
I’m angry about the whole goddamned thing. I’m mad that she worried the shit out of us and mad that she didn’t think to ask us if we minded our children being taken to a church that we know nothing about. Am I justified in this? Am I overreacting??
What do you guys think???