Monday, February 23, 2015

Peer Pressure (Cathy)

“Wow Mom, you would have been so proud of me today!” My 14 year old daughter bounds up to me outside her school. These are words that give a mother pause. I’ve learned to rein-in my reaction before jumping to conclusions — positive or negative. I smile and paste an attentive look on my face. She continues, “I was hanging out with my friends at lunch time at the store next door (me — hmm), and they were putting a lot of pressure on me to try this particular drink (me — double hmm). I told them no, but they kept pushing me.” She continues in a mocking, sing-song, snide voice, “Just try it, a little sip won’t hurt. What are you so worried about?”

Now my mind is racing as I continue to tamper down any reaction. I would hope the store wouldn’t sell alcohol to 14 year olds, but maybe not all of her friends are actually 14. What if they have fake ID? She continues, “I told them no, even a small sip of that stuff would send me into a tailspin, and I even had to go to the hospital once because of it.”

I stop. The only time she went to the hospital was the day she had a panic attack in the movie theater. My girl had leaned over to me that day in the theater and whispered, “Mom, I can’t breathe.” I dragged my eyes away from the big screen where the vampires were ripping off each other’s heads and peered at her. She was pale and sweating. I could hear her rapid breathing. I coached her to breathe deeply and asked if the movie scared her; she looked at me like I was nuts. We went to the lobby, where she seemed to calm down, but I decided to get her to the emergency room anyway. By the time we got to there she seemed perfectly normal again, even somewhat cheerful. They checked her pulse, temperature and so on, and asked a few questions including, “Did you have any caffeine, like in coffee or an energy drink?”

“No,” I said firmly. “My kids don’t get that stuff.”

Wait. There was the large diet cola we bought at the theatre, of which my daughter had imbibed the lion’s share. At home when we have soda, its caffeine free, but the theater doesn’t have that. Dang.

Back to the matter at hand. I ask, “What was it your friends were trying to get you to drink?”

An energy drink and I didn’t do it.”

“Good for you honey, I am proud of you.”

“I told them how sensitive I am to caffeine, but they wouldn’t let up, so I finally just walked away.”

I watch her dash back to her gaggle of friends. They look like cookie cutter versions of each other with their black skinny jeans, bracelets from wrist to elbow, flowing hair with bangs, tee shirts with logos and pictures of their favorite bands.

She may not be immune to peer pressure, but I’ll take what I can get.

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