Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 12: So, As I Told the Nice Officer Last Night . . .

Gee, how was your Tuesday?

Want to know how mine was?

C - R - A - Z - Y. With a capital K.

But first: Mimosa's tryout for Madrigals went fine, I believe. Thank you for all your good thoughts. A couple of kids from our church Youth Group tried out too and hung out with her, and they all had a good time, and afterward she got a frozen yogurt and seemed happy. I don't know when we'll know if she made it, and the wait is a tad excruciating.

"Fortunately," we have a distraction.

Yesterday a thick envelope addressed to Mimosa arrived in the mail, sealed with masking tape, sporting a return address label with the name blacked out. Something told me not to let her open it by herself. Well, actually, many things told me; the whole thing had the look of "I could be laced with anthrax. Open me if you dare!"

In any event — the letter is from a girl that Mimosa did karate with five years ago. The girl basically accuses my daughter of stealing her childhood and ruining her life. She says that my daughter hurt her, badly and repeatedly, in the context of karate class, and ignored this girl's pleas for her to stop. (Note: "Pleas" may be misleading; the girl refers to her "taps" being ignored. In karate, tapping is the sign you need to stop. Like a safe word, for kids.) The girl throws around such phrases as "post-traumatic stress syndrome" and "conditioning."

Her accusations actually go farther, but I think I'm going to leave it at that. If you want to know more, write to me privately.

I am not one of those mothers who can't see any faults in their children. But having said that, this letter is crap. The girl claims that she was hurt repeatedly, no one intervened, and there was no one she could tell.

Reality: There are at minimum three adults in the dojo at all times to make sure that the kids aren't being hurt, inadvertently or on purpose. The teacher ended every class by having the kids sit in a circle to talk about feelings, etc. The girl who wrote this letter is home-schooled, i.e., has more access to her mother than most kids. And I know this girl; she is no shrinking violet. The idea that she had "no one" to tell is ludicrous.

And my daughter, the all-powerful monster she is accusing, was a 10-year-old fourth-grader at the time.

Not that 10 year olds can't be monsters. But still. Mine was pretty much a marshmallow in fourth grade.

The saddest thing is that she considered this girl a friend — her best friend at karate, in fact. As you can imagine, this letter completely devastated her, she is questioning every memory she has of those years, and she feels vulnerable and frightened to be the target of an angry crazy person. I am doing everything I can to make her feel safe and strong and protected and able to protect herself.

But if I see this girl on the street . . . heaven help us all.

And we did call the police. Nothing in this six-page letter could be called an actual threat, but nonetheless it is deeply unsettling, and I wanted to lay the groundwork in case we need to file a harassment complaint. But I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.

The officer was very nice and gave us some very good suggestions, which we are following.

All sorts of other "fun" stuff also happened yesterday, but nothing really holds a candle to one of Arlington's finest standing in your living room.

Zumba was very therapeutic. And I just took a long walk and lifted weights and worked my core and sublimated all sorts of rage through sweat. And as I walked the last few blocks toward home, I took the longest stride I could and felt the muscles rippling down the backs of my thighs. I felt like a gazelle! And the song on my iPod was the deeply awesome "Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque,"* which felt very celebrate-y.

All will be well. I've alerted the key players in Team Mimosa, we are closing in in a protective circle around her. Everyone is on her side. All will be well.

But if she doesn't make Madrigals in the midst of this horror show . . . Katy, bar the door.

I'll keep you posted!

Off to shower, I am disgusting.

—Lady Mama Bear C

* Youngsters, this was a hit song by The Partridge Family** in 1970, from the episode where Keith falls for a skinny-dipping hitch-hiker played by Laurie Prange, wispy constant of 1970s' TV.

** Oh, OK, The Partridge Family was a TV show in the early 1970s. The Partridges were based on The Cowsills,*** a family pop music group from the '60s.

*** No! No more footnotes. Go to Wikipedia.


  1. Horror is right. Poor Miss M!

    It's a terrible thing to be accused of something that you didn't do, even in the context of someone who clearly needs attention from someone. Even if M knows this says loads about this sad girl and nothing about her, it probably doesn't help much. But you and yours are strong and blessed in your family and personal strength. I have no doubt you'll all handle it well; you just do that. But I'm sorry it's happening at all.

    ("Albuquerque" means nothing to me -- never know the names of songs -- but Laurie Prang! She I remember -- couldn't look someone in the eye to save her life. Maybe if I could sing like M, I'd remember actual songs.) J.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, sweetie. Wish you were here!!

      Do you remember Laurie Prange from The Waltons? That, and Testimony of Two Men, a miniseries I was obsessed with (David Birney! Linda Purl! [I think] I LOVED it), are my two big Laurie Prange memories, though I can barely picture her either; I keep seeing the chicky from Ode to Billie Joe, whose name I'm blanking on. Glynnis something? Another '70s TV princess. Whatta golden age it was!