Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wracked with guilt

I’m feeling extremely uneasy today. I have a headache, I can’t concentrate and I have absolutely no appetite for anything except coffee.

Yesterday, I lied to the grandmother of my daughter’s friend. I feel so guilty and I really wish I had handled the situation like a grown-up, but I didn't. Here’s what happened:

The grandmother, we’ll call her G, called inviting Lisa to a family outing they were planning this week. The outing would involve my daughter’s friend K, her parents and older brother.

The outing was to “The Pier”, which obviously involves water – strike one.

They wanted to pick her up at 2:00 in the afternoon and would have her home by 10:00. Lisa, remember, is 6 years old – strike two.

If I’m really being honest, the first two strikes might not be strikes at all if it weren’t for strike three, and this is what really has me wracked with guilt. G called because K’s parents are deaf. Not only are they deaf, but they are also practically illiterate. I don’t know sign language beyond the few words I taught my kids as babies, they don’t read lips or talk, the mother can read and write a little bit (although most of the time I can’t make out what she’s trying to say – the writing and content is grade 1 level, at best) and the father is completely illiterate. I have no way of communicating with these people beyond polite nods, waves hello and good-bye and signing a lame "thank you". K’s older brother is being raised by G; I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the arrangement, but I do wonder.

So, when faced with the invitation to have my daughter spend 8 hours on the water with this family, I lied. I didn’t face G and say, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel comfortable putting Lisa in that situation”. I didn’t tell her that bodies of water, whether natural or the backyard variety, scare the hell out of me. Instead, I cowered in the corner and told her that Lisa would be spending the weekend with her grandparents at a cottage. Not that we had plans for that night, but that she would be gone for the whole weekend. I cracked under the pressure and told not just a little lie, but a big doozie of a lie. I’m such a loser.

Before you judge me too harshly, I don’t have anything against these people. Lisa has been to K’s house too many times to count, as K has been to our house. I love that my daughter is exposed to this other world where people talk with their hands and I love even more that she enjoys going over there (probably because no one there ever yells!) They are kind, if simple, people whose only motivation in inviting Lisa along was to be gracious and to secure a playmate for their daughter.

But, it’s a road trip. To the lake. And I just don’t know if they will take care of my little girl the way I would. And, she’s my little girl.


Sara said...

I don't know that I would feel comfortable having my kids go out on the water with a hearing family. I don't blame you one bit.

Regarding your comment- We have Tim Hortons around here because we are so close to the canadian border. They're actually more prevalent in our area than Dunkin Donuts. And they are :so: my favorite.

Seriously--don't beat yourself up. You could have hurt feelings and caused a situation where your daughter may not be able to play with her friend at all.

JMC said...

All's fair in protecting the kids. I certainly wouldn't want my kids on the water with people who couldn't hear if they called for help. No reason for guilt. How far is the grandparent's cottage? If it's close, go visit, then voila: no lie.

Is that how you spell 'voila'?

Tessie said...

I'm with jmc-it's jungle rules when it comes to safety.

Plus, you preserved both her saftey AND her relationship with her friend.

Swistle said...

I would feel the same. How would she alert them that she needed help, if something happened in the water? But even deafness were not an issue, I would be too scared about the water to allow it ANYWAY. I can't even think about it without feeling sick and crazy.

I use the Miss Manners technique of saying no but without giving any excuse at all: I don't have to think of a lie on the spot (something I am SO BAD AT it is not even funny), and I also don't have to "be honest" (which I don't always think is a good idea anyway). So what I do is I put on a voice of real regret, like I am REALLY UPSET that I have to say no, and then I say, "Oh, I'm SO sorry, she CAN'T!"--and then I REAL QUICK say something else, like, "I hope you guys'll have fun though!" or "I hear it's going to be great weather for it!" or WHATEVER, to move past the part where I didn't give a reason.

Haley-O said...

Oh, those are SOME DEFINITE STRIKES! I would have done the EXACT SAME THING. Even the lying part -- because you didn't want to hurt them. She's way too young for all that, anyway!

Haley-O said...

Besides, YOU would have been an anxious basket case had you let her go. So, put the guilt away and enjoy being anxiety free! :)

LoriD said...

A big smoochy kiss for all of you! I made it through the weekend without being caught in my lie and you guys made me feel much more "capable mother" than "over-protective moron".

JMC - Voila! That's how you spell it, if I remember it correctly from high school french class. My lie, however, was so big that the grandparents don't even have a cottage!!

Swistle - I'm going to try the Miss Manners approach next time. Sooo much better than the big stupid lie!