We were happily chugging along in life. There were some trials and quite a few bumps but I felt we did a good job of navigating our family through all of them. I emailed teachers, talked to parents, talked to her, told her our reason for punishment and praised her when she was doing good. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was raising a daughter who would eventually make the right decisions and get back on the right track. There was yelling, but no physical punishment (no matter how much my hand was itching to make contact with her cheek), I knew it would do no good to lay my hands on her. Once the heat of the moment passed, we all took deep breaths and talked as calmly as possible. We wiped the slate clean, the past was the past. We accepted her boyfriend, despite not liking him. We went to bat for her at school and in the courtroom. We didn't make excuses for her actions or her behavior, but we as her parents stepped up to the plate. All this while I'm trying to graduate from college. Have you ever had to schedule a final around your daughter's court date? It isn't easy, I don't recommend it. The shit storm of having a rebellious teenager died down and she was polite, fun to be around, helpful, got her grades back up, and was generally being a NICE person. I actually enjoyed being around her and wanted to spend time with her. We were getting good reports from her teachers, not just about her grades but about her attitude. She was being respectful and kind to her teachers. "We have turned a corner! She is doing so well. That was a shitty year, hopefully Zilla learns from this and won't put us through this." That's what we thought, we were high fiving each other and commending our parenting skills because clearly we rock. Then Thursday June 7 happened. There was a period of 26 hours that I didn't know where my daughter was. My 15 year old daughter was not home, nor did I know where she was when I went to sleep that night.
I filed a runaway report that night, I knocked on her boyfriend's door, I had the police call his mother, I called and sent a text every single one of her friends trying to get ANY information as to where my daughter was. I woke up the next morning and started calling people and schools right away. I was in contact with her boyfriend all day and he told me he didn't know where she was, yet I'm being told by a few different sources that she IS with him. I went back to his house and his older sister tells me she has no idea where my daughter is. I resorted to telling them that she is a missing child at this point and there is an Amber Alert out for her. Yep. I lied to get that damn kid to tell me where my kid was. This whole time, we never heard from the boyfriend's mother. WTF?! Where is she?! Why isn't she answering her door and her phone at 11 PM and if my daughter is in her house, why does she think I would be OK with this?!
Finally at noon, on Friday, I found her. It was pure luck that I did find her, but she was safe. Pissed off at the world, but safe. The officer came and she got cited with a few things, but that really isn't on my top priority list of worries right now. My biggest worry is how do I get through her?! How do I tell her that I am not against her? I am not the enemy here, I am WITH her! I want her happy, I want her to have friends, I want her to do stupid teenage things (not illegal) and have stupid stories to tell when she gets older. I do not want her to run away, nor do I want her to die. I want her safe, healthy and happy, clearly that is too much to ask at the moment.
Where did I go wrong? Was I too overprotective? Did I not give her enough space to learn to do things on her own? I thought I was doing all the right things, how how wrong I was.