Earlier I mentioned my Mometer, pronounced like thermometer minus the THER. This amazing mechanism houses sensitive inner feelers that regulate maternal instinct. I think it is located in every cell of my body, but I am positive that Mission Control is in my heart. I assume all mothers possess this in-house sensor that can alert us for many reasons.... Let’s say your child is near danger, a kid is emotionally struggling, exaggerating or lying….those are just a few of its many functions that pop into my head. Over the weekend I experienced my Mometer signals flashing in the red zone when my son sliced his finger with his father’s pocket knife. Being four hours away from them, I perked up and started to worry, wanting to be with my son. In his voice, I heard fear and nervousness and a quick Mometer check (a slow deep breath) said I was right. He was frightened. Any medical situation will activate my maternal gadget immediately.
This same twelve year lying in the Emergency Room registered on my Mometer a couple months earlier for a totally different kind of lying. He was packing up to spend the night at his friend’s house. I walked into our dark garage and there he stood with his stuffed overnight bag, his hand dipped in one of the side pockets and a sly, guilty look on his face. My Mometer started to register; I had to pursue this situation.
“What are you doing in the garage?”
My signal felt stronger as I looked at his stance.
“Why is your hand in your bag? What is in there?”
He slowly removed his hand from the duffle pocket and rested it on his side. Hmmmm. I was picking up something stronger now, and my Mometer told me to dig deeper. Walking over to where he stood, I put my hand in his red bag pocket and pulled out a lighter. Busted.
“You lied to me. Why are sneaking this? Are you smoking?”
“Mom,” his voice cracked, “I know where Dad keeps the lighters and my friends told me to bring one. We were going to play with the fire pit outside. “
“How do you play with fire when there is a fire pit already lit with fire? Are you smoking?”
“No, mom. It was just for fun”.
“Is it fun to burn down your friend’s house? Is it fun to lie to me?”
My Mometer registered that he was(now)telling the truth. It sensed that he really wanted to mess with the flame. Wondering if he is a future pyromaniac, I lectured him on fire danger and how disappointed I was that he lied. He had never lied to my face before, or at least had never been caught. Feeling sad inside, I took the lighter away and glared at him showing deep disappointment with my eyes.
When I told my husband, he shrugged his shoulders and said that it was no big deal; he understood. I called my father and he chuckled saying he did the same thing when he was twelve, then he went on to tell me about his juvenile pyromania days. Both men were casual about what I thought was worth concern and punishment; but then I have never been a little boy. As a girl playing with fire was not tempting. Unbeknown to me, boys have this curious desire to control fire in all of them. Mothering two boys, I am certain that young males are accidents waiting to happen. My Mometer just confirmed it, so it must be true.