Y'all, I'm failing at this parenting thing.
Really. The story I am about to tell you is 100% true, not embellished in any way, and ironically is a story about 100% lies.
I had to look up the official diagnosis for someone who is a compulsive liar just to see how many of the characteristics lined up. This is what I found:
"Pathological lying can be described as a habituation of lying. It is when an individual consistently lies for no personal gain. The lies are commonly transparent and often seem rather pointless."
Now I'm just downright frightened. But read for yourself what transpired and you be the judge.
The girls and I attend an awesome church. We've been there about a year and a half and I could not be happier. The people are warm, the teaching solid, the music exactly my preference, and heart of the church to be outward focused spot on with the call of the Gospel in our lives. Like I said, I love it and am so happy to be there. We've started getting more involved recently and are getting to know lots of new folks. Our days of being anonymous and sitting in the back are over and it's time to let this unsuspecting group of people get to know the real Webber Women, warts and all.
I just didn't think we'd be showing them this many warts quite so soon.
The service was over. I talked briefly with a couple new friends, gathered my things, and made my way to the children's area to pick up my younger two girls. Armed with my badge bearing the same ID number as the girls, I made my way to my third grader's room first.
As I got closer, I noticed her teacher was leading the group in a closing prayer. I knew the prayer time would be very brief (because let's face it, any time when the adults in a room full of kids close their eyes for an extended period of time, the results are just not going to be quite as spiritual as one might hope.) Although I couldn't hear what was being said, I observed and soon the prayer was concluded and the kids resumed whatever it is that 3rd graders do to be loud and unruly.
Approaching the door, I waved to Lauren and she quickly made her way to me. She was in quite a hurry, actually, but since she feels that being quarantined into a children's church area is degrading and only for babies, I assumed she was just anxious to be back among "her people", a.k.a. the grown-ups.
Thanking her teacher, I smiled and offered him a glance of the ID number in my hand, which he studied for a brief moment before saying, "We prayed for you guys on your upcoming trip." He was really being genuine and kind.
I was baffled. Oh no. Was I having a senior moment? Was I planning a trip that I had forgotten all about? Was it TODAY? Where was I going? I racked my brain, trying desperately to recall any trips I was planning to take in the next few days.
Nothing. Alzheimer's and dementia run STRONG in my family so I'm always looking for signs that I am losing it.
With no other option but to admit my forgetfulness, I had to admit it to this nice man who had cared well for my daughter while I sat in church. I had no idea what he was talking about.
"Trip? Where are we going?" I asked, half laughing to hide my confusion, half hoping he would fill me in on the plans I had made for myself and forgotten.
"You know, your trip home? Back to Australia?" the man replied, dead serious and most likely growing concerned that I was traveling literally across the world and did not seem to remember this.
And then it hit me. She hadn't. She wouldn't.
I looked around for the little fibber, but discovered she had taken off like a brushfire in September. She was nowhere to be seen.
You see, the girls have discovered a few pre-teen shows on Netflix. They're harmless, but the girls seem to really enjoy them mostly because they take place in Australia and they enjoy listening to the young girls' accents. Lauren especially has been enamored and trying out her Australian accent with words like "crikey" and "mate".
Here we were, just starting to get to know people at our new church, and she pulls this? We certainly would be making a new, fresh start with new relationships, but now they would be questioning every word we said thanks to my little truth stretcher (this time it wasn't just stretching the truth. She had snapped it right in half.).
I informed this poor chap that we were, in fact, from America, and that we had no plans to travel to Australia in the foreseeable future. Graciously, the man laughed a little and seemed amused (and confused). He said she told him she was "just here visiting her American cousins, Olivia and Lauren."
I later found out more of what had transpired during the hour she was in the class. When asked what part of Australia she was from, she didn't miss a beat. In her weird combination of a southern, British, and Australian accent, she said, "We just moved to a new neighborhood. I'm not really sure where it is." The teacher had asked if she lived near Sydney (the only city Lauren has ever heard of thanks to Nemo), and Lauren had immediately pounced on that by saying, "Oh, yes! We live very close to Sydney!"
I apologized to this man for the confusion, thanked him for his prayers (hey, we can always use more prayers on our behalf even if they are based on lies), and started to leave. The teacher, maybe wanting to share a smile (or a glare) with my child, leaned out the doorway and said, "Bye, Hope! See you next week!"
I stopped in my tracks. Turned around and gave him the same look, except this time he knew what it meant.
"Her name's Lauren," I said. I gave a nervous laugh, shrugged, and walked away.
Next week's lesson will likely be the story of Ananias and Sapphira from the book of Acts. (If you don't know it, look it up. You'll see what I mean.)
Honestly. These kids just frighten me sometimes. They're so well-behaved in public and with teachers of all kinds that no one would EVER suspect any one of them would pull such a stunt (for over an hour, I might add. It takes some focused concentration to keep up with an attempted accent that long without slipping up.).
And in the ultimate irony, today after school Lauren told me about a misunderstanding between some classmates. Because the teacher wasn't there to see it for herself, who did she call upon to relay the facts of what had actually transpired?
My little Hope. I mean, Lauren.
Suddenly the recent trouble this guy has been in seems a little too close to home: