I need to share something that may shock you, especially those of you who know me well. But, I think the time has come and I need to come clean. Here it is: when I was five, I began a life of crime. Petty theft to be exact. And as of today, I fear my oldest daughter may be following in my troublesome footsteps...
Allow me to take you to my kindergarten room. The year was 1986ish and I spent every day in my classroom that was filled with toys, a piano and chattering children. One day I went to my cubby at the back of the room where we kept our recess snacks. I reached for mine but the vast cubby was empty; no granola bar that I had been eagerly anticipating. Apparently I had a grumbling stomach because at that moment I made the choice to reach into a different cubby, near mine I presume, and take the unassuming homemade peanut butter cookies that sat there waiting for another child.
When peanut butter cookie boy (PBCB) went for his snack, sadly, he found that his succulent goodies had been taken from right under his nose. He promptly told our teacher, who then asked the class if anyone knew what happened to said cookies, and all of the class shook their head 'no'. I shook my head the same way, keeping my deep, dark secret to myself.
That night I went home and told my mum that someone had stolen PBCB's cookies. "That's terrible", she said to me in her best mum voice. "Who would do such a thing?!" "I have no idea", came my weak reply. So weak, in fact, that I promptly burst into tears, and between sobs confessed my crime to my mum. "It was me! I stole PBCB's cookies".
So my mum did what any good parent would do and made me call up PBCB to firstly apologize for my wrongdoing. Then, I was told I must ask him what his favourite cookie was. That night she and I baked a batch of homemade peanut butter cookies and took them to him the next day at school, a clear apology for my bad behaviour. I had surely learned my lesson, my guilty conscience making me feel like a terrible person.
And you'd think I'd tell you that I never did it again...but that would be a lie.
Two years later, now seven years old, I'd had a clean record since the great cookie heist of '86. I was with my mum and brother and we were heading to a little delicatessen that we often went to in our town. After collecting our groceries we headed for the checkout where they had a large jar of small candies and gummies with a clear sign that read something to the effect of "Take Only One Candy, Kristin". As you may have guessed, I covertly took a couple of extras.
Driving home in the car my brother looked into the backseat where I was and said "Mum! Why is Kristin still chewing? How many candies did you take???", disdain (and jealousy) evident in his 10-year-old voice; guilt rising up in my chest. When mum peeked back to see that I had obviously taken more candies than the one that I was supposed to, she once again led me down lesson lane. She immediately turned the car around and headed straight back to the delicatessen, took me inside to the cash and asked me to apologize to the woman for taking more than my appropriate candy allotment. I apologized, and my mum offered to pay for the others.
Now here's the kicker - the woman said ok, and made my mum pay 10 cents per candy! 40 cents later we were out the door again, and I had paid my debt. Well, mum had. In all honesty, I always imagined that they had my head shot up in that little bakery so staff could easily identify me in case I ever returned. I didn't return until I was in my early twenties.
And that's truly the end of my early path of crime. I have never taken anything again in my life, and in fact, I have the most guilty conscience of all time. If I so much as feel like I said something that may have slightly offended someone I just feel terrible. Now perhaps I'm a bit too sensitive, but I like to think that I'm instilling my post-seven-year-old morals into my two children. However that was drawn into question this afternoon.
We had a birthday party to attend for my friend's daughter today, and being the self-professed procrastinators that we are, Cal and Lady M headed out to pick up the birthday present at Indigo near our house while I packed up everything we needed with Lady A at my side. After traipsing around the store, getting what they needed and paying (yes, paying), Cal and Lady M headed back to the hockey store where Lady M's new skates were being sharpened. (Did I mention it was a skating party?) As they headed to the next store Lady M said "oh no! Daddy, I forgot I had this!". Enter: the stolen radio, clutched in her little hand.
So I don't think she's really headed for a life of crime, and I'm clearly not since I'm planning to return it as soon as the store opens again, but I hope you will heed my tale. Don't steal...it's bad.
Clearly that moral has been well ingrained in my head. Thanks Mum.