An awkward and alarming email came through from my son's teacher last week, saying he'd been caught stealing cookies in the lunch line, and could I talk to him because it seemed a bit out of character.
I assured her I'd speak to him right away because - as I mentioned to her - everyone knows that stealing cookies in the lunch line is the first step toward a lifelong pattern of crime. One minute, your kid's pinching a few cookies, then you blink, and they're all grown up, showing colors and throwing gang signs.
Before I could get to the bottom of my kid's new hobby as a shoplifter, I visited with one of the other moms* waiting for our kids after school. I mentioned my sadness and concern over my child's dark turn toward crime, feeling like she couldn't possibly understand my strife.