The squirrel told me something today that had been bugging her. She’s been pining over this boy and you might even call her “obsessed”… but there was a specific reason why. I picked up the rodents at school today, and the Squirrel was the first one in the car. “Karen, I’ve had a bad day. One of my friends just found out she’s pregnant and neither she nor her boyfriend know what to do.” I admit, that’s gotta be rough. And then she continued… “I told mom this already, but you remember Mike? well, there’s a reason I’ve been so caught up with him… We kinda have had sex… multiple times.” I wish I could say that shocked me. It didn’t. I don’t really know how to relate to her with this, but I do know that I’ve learned a lot since high school.
Let’s rewind, shall we? It’s 2003 (ish) and I’m in high school. My best friend is a freshman at a local junior college. She has an African (as in from Africa) boyfriend, and she tells me that they’ve been sexually active. I was raise in a pretty traditional Baptist home. Drinking and smoking are two of the seven deadly sins, added to kissing boys before marriage, etc (Ok, kissing isn’t bad, but more is…) I was still figuring out who I was in this whole scene since I was still relatively new to the area. I probably could’ve reacted better to my best friend, but I didn’t know how to react. That was then… I understand her (my best friend) better now, but that confession really rocked my world.
Back to today. The squirrel gets an email from Mike asking if she’s the one pregnant. She starts freaking out. Evidently his mom booked a flight here, called lawyers, and was going to come. I’m not supposed to let the rodents use my phone, but with all this going on via email, I knew verbal would be better. She called him and talked to him and his mom, and tried convincing them she wasn’t pregnant. I don’t know if she succeeded really… She did come back from her room in a somber mood, and then confessed to her sister and brother about the whole thing.
Later, she sat on the ottoman in front of the fireplace. “Karen, am I a bad person? I mean, since all this has happened?”
I looked at her square on. “No… No, Squirrel. We all make mistakes.”
Her eyes shown with fear, hurt, and anger as she told me “I know I need to tell mom all of this. And I will. Probably not today. Is it weird to say that I’m not scared of her, or telling her, but of her anger? How she’ll react?”
I chuckled slightly. “No. I bet that’s how a lot of people feel of God, especially with God in the Old Testament. They aren’t afraid of Him as much as they are of His anger. I bet you can understand Him a little better if you try and think of Him as though He’s a parent.”
Her eyes began to sparkle. “You know, that makes sense!” We talked for a little more, cozily in front of the fireplace when their mom came home. She bound outside, putting on my coat and scarf. “Mom,” I heard her say. “My day hasn’t been that great. I want to tell you why, but after I process it a little more.”
I told her later, before I left that I’m glad she came to me as a friend. I look forward to the day she can call me for advice, or hang out with me as a friend, not as a nanny. The whole day reminded me of how God puts people in our lives for a reason. I don’t know why the Rodents are in mine, well, not completely. I do know that if more days wound up like today, where we got along (mostly) and had fun, quality time, their lives and mine would be so much fuller, so much better. I kind of lamented the fact that Doc would only be there for the last hour or so of their day, but it’s ok. As we sat down at dinner, with the wonderful “oven fried chicken” the Mouse made, I saw myself there as though it were natural, carrying on conversation, laughing and living as though we were family, and for a moment, I saw the beauty of God’s grace.
I can’t tell the Squirrel how to live her life, but I can be the kind of role model she needs. I know she’s hurting, but I have a shoulder that’s dry she can cry on. I know she doesn’t always feel loved, but I have arms that are ready to envelope her in a warm embrace. I know she’s dealing with high school drama, but I’ve survived and can help her to survive as well.
It’s weird how much difference 7 years make in regards to the same sort of news. Seven years ago, my best friend probably would’ve called me judgmental, full of hypocrisy, etc. Am I that same person? No. I’ll make the same mistakes over and over, I’m sure. But does that make me a bad person? No. It just makes me human.