If I were 100% Native American, instead of just 25%, that would be my name.
Yesterday we went to pick Amanda up, and got back to Senatobia (relatively) late. It was about 9:15 when I got home after dropping her off. I had even made a sign for Anna Marie to hold up. I told her that when someone was catching a ride from an airport, they sometimes needed a sign to show them who to ride with. Observe:
Notice her new, short haircut! She hasn't had it that short in a while, and it looks really cute. Notice also the swanky Little Mermaid necklace she's sporting, courtesy of McD's Happy Meals.
And yeah, she's wearing short sleeves in November. It was like 70 degrees out there, folks.
(Oh, and since we were so late leaving the airport, we decided to nix the Vietnamese food and just hit Fazoli's on the way home. Yum!)
Once we got home, Anna Marie did something she hadn't done the entire 12 days Amanda was gone - she wept. Bitterly. Openly. Broken heartedly.
Until 11:00 p.m.
Let's backtrack, shall we?
When I got to the airport, it was dark and raining. I noticed a police car behind me, but I thought he was just on patrol.
He continued to follow me, and again, I thought he was patrolling the lot.
He didn't flash his lights or anything like that.
When I saw him pull behind my van and walk towards me, I knew something was up.
Apparently, I ran a stop sign. For the life of me, I don't know where. I guess somewhere on airport property, because he was an airport cop.
I apologized PROFUSELY and handed him my license. He took what seemed like forever to call it in, and then let me off with a warning.
Let's note here that this was the first time I'd EVER, EVER gotten stopped by a police officer in my 15 years of driving.
Anna Marie was HIGHLY traumatized.
The whole time we were waiting for Amanda (which ended up being about an hour) she kept telling me how scared she was. The officer wasn't ugly with me, and he didn't flash his lights, and I told her that he was just doing his job. I explained how dangerous running a stop sign was, that if there had been another car coming that we could've had a wreck.
By the time we got home, "scared" had morphed into "angry."
She was angry with me for getting in trouble and causing her to be scared.
I actually made the mistake of telling her that it wasn't my first time to run a stop sign, just my first time getting caught (and explaining that all drivers have done it at least once) and she really thought I was awful.
I even tried to have a teachable moment, where I told her that whether or not the policeman had seen me I'd still broken the law, and that whether or not I saw her do something wrong she was still wrong.
And, that even though I'd gotten a warning, I deserved a ticket - and that God had mercy on us too, when we deserved much worse punishment for doing wrong than what we got.
As I was getting her into bed, she was still mad at me but getting over it because I told her that I couldn't sing bedtime songs to someone who was mad at me. (Awful of me, I know.) And she was settling down. And then she saw it.
It was a picture of Amanda and me, taken in the spring, that was on her night stand. She picked it up, held it, and began SOBBING. I'd never seen her cry like this - great, heaving sobs, which seemed to come from deep within.
She said she missed her Aunt Manda, and I explained that she needed her rest and Anna Marie could see her in the morning. She was not satisfied.
I reminded her that she hadn't cried the whole time Aunt Manda was gone, and she said she almost did - when she was watching the episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Spongebob loses his pet snail Gary.
"I just keep thinking about Spongebob losing Gary," she sobbed.
Keep in mind, Gary left because Spongebob forgot to feed him, and he was held captive by a crazy old lady - neither of which happened to Amanda.
It took me until after 11:00 to get her to settle down, to stop crying and making her face all splotchy. She admitted that she was scared that I was going to get arrested, and I reassured her that people don't usually get arrested for running stop signs, unless they're also doing something else wrong, in which case, I wasn't.
She's afraid that the next time I go to the airport, I'll run the stop sign and get caught again.
Amazingly, she was back up at 7:00 a.m. Amanda and Mom came and got her to take her to lunch and then around town for the afternoon, and I hope she caught a nap in the car - or she's going to be a real pill when I get home.
Oh, and after I put her to bed, I had a teachable moment all my own.
Remember when I told her that even if no one saw her do wrong, she still was wrong?
Well, I was reminded that since I'd gotten back from Georgia I'd been regaling people with things my uneducated, backwards mother-in-law had said.
Even though she didn't hear me make fun of her, I was still wrong. I was still speaking unkind words.
That, my friends, sent me off to bed with a heavy heart.
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it…