I wish I were only referring to a game of Clue. In reality, it was Lexi in a UPS store with pink cardstock paper As a mother, I always knew this day would come, but I didn’t know when, where and what item would entice Lexi enough to commit grand larceny.
If I were a betting woman, I would have guessed that Lexi would steal food, but paper?? It’s not a precious commodity in our household. We have tons of paper of various colors and thickness. Each sheet costs a mere ten cents so it wasn’t even out of the range of possibility for me to have purchased it for her had she asked. What amazes me even more than what she stole is how she accomplished the feat. This UPS store was not a very large one. My husband and I were never standing more than a foot away from her, but somehow in the span of licking an envelope and writing an address, she managed to stuff ten sheets of cardstock down her shirt.
The girl even had the sense to steal sheets of paper that matched her clothing. She was dressed in pink from head to toe, and the only reason I knew something was amiss was that even with my short stature, I’m still taller than a six year-old and could see pink paper protruding peeking form the top of her shirt. I put out my hand, and she crumbled. She started apologizing profusely, but I banned her from the store so I could gather my wits and not make a scene…because I could have raised a ruckus at that moment.
“I’m disappointed in you, Lexi,” was all it took for her to dissolve in tears all the way home. I couldn’t tell whether it was our disappointment in her or the punishment that hurt her the most. I was feeling pretty bad myself and wondering whether I had neglected to teach her properly about stealing.
“I stole some Bonkers candy once,” chimes my husband. “I was seven or eight and got busted by my dad, who made me go back into the store and apologize. I got a spanking for it.”
So okay, even good kids steal and do other things they’ve been told explicitly not to do. And maybe it isn’t always the parent at fault. I admit that when I read stories of crimes committed by teenagers and young adults, I immediately wonder what kind of parents they had. But sometimes individuals-even children-make choices that go against what they were taught and know to be right.
Before bed, Lexi apologized again and said that I must have been a pretty good kid and not stolen anything. Ummm…right except for the one or two times I might have stolen a Hershey’s chocolate bar and eaten it in the aisles so that I never got caught walking out with merchandise.
Maybe I should ease up on the punishment…
So go ahead and confess. It’ll make you feel better. What did you steal as a child?