How long is a tether?

How long is a tether? I really want to know, cos I think I am at the end of mine right now, but if I am wrong and there is a bit left I would like to know how much so I can pace myself.

I am crap, my kids deserve better than me I feel I could auction them on Ebay and they would still end up bettter off.

Last night my son, my youngest, joy of my life, was missing for over 2 hours.

All was well, the boys had a swimming lesson. Wednesday is cheap dvd day so I said they could each choose a dvd . By the time we had done that they were all so hungry they were gnawing on their own feet. I have them all on this gnarly tastless (to them) macrobiotic diet, so I felt bad and bowed to pressure and let them go for udon.
Then we went to a small local supermarket to buy food for The Man coming home.
The plan at this point was to zip around the supa and get home in time to watch a dvd before bed.
I sent the kids off in different directions to get milk etc and was just coming around the corner by the coffee when I saw the youngest foraging around in his pocket. So I asked him what he had in there and he gave the bog-standard answer, “nothing”. So I had a look and there was a packet of gum, which although he had not eaten any yet, he had started to rip the wrapper off. Clearly it had been tea-leaved from the shelf.
So I told him that as the wrapper was ripped I would have to pay for it and that he should apologise to ‘the lady’. ‘The lady’ being a fairly vague concept at this point.
So I go to the cashier, I pay and then look around for the kids. Two come forward.
( I am as yet undecided about using my kids’ names here so to protect their identities now and in the future when they become fugitives from justice,I will call them Kevin and Jim. Those of you who know me can probably guess which is which!)

SO, Kevin is despatched to get Jim, the tea-leaf, the robber, the shoplifter. He comes back alone. I go to look, I can’t see him, so we pack up the groceries and hang about a few minutes.
Minutes pass with no sign of Jim. We look upstairs, we check the loos, we come back down.
15 minutes have passed so I ask the counter service woman to put out a broadcast for him, which she does. ( She rather pointlessly asks him, the 7 year old to come to the service counter, but that is neither here nor there).
We take turns to look up and down, we wait, we check the exits. I did not think he would have left the shop, he is not nearly as brave as he thinks he is.
I ask for another broadcast, this time, I tell her what he is wearing and ask if someone sees him, to please bring him to the customer service area.
I send big sister across the street to check the stationers, a favourite hangout of his, where he is known by the staff, we go and back and forth from shop to shop and back to the supermarket.
He has now been missing for over an hour and the shop will close soon and it is dark outside.
We go to check the carpark, the counter service people have my cell number, I decide to drive the few minutes to my house to see if he had walked home. He is not there.
We decided to go to the Police Box, they are not there, they are out warning people that they will be very cross if they observe any parking violations.
Call The Man who will come straight back, I will drive to the otherside of this small town to the Police Station. Get to police station, give the details, getting very very worried now, that he is alone, in the dark and afraid somewhere.
The rascist policeman
asks if my son is a ‘half’ (breed?) or a ‘quarter’ (breed),WTF?? I did not get on my soap box , I needed him to find my son.
They told us to go home and wait there and turn all the lights in the house on. We had just got back when they called and said they had found him, he had been hiding in the mens toilets for over 2 hours!!!

We ran like billy-O to get him. The policeman gave me a bollocking for telling Jim off about the stealing. He said this happens all the time, and I should not have been angry. Next time I might just say, “Hey go to town honey, fill your pockets, I am not allowed to teach you right from wrong’

It was a very bad day. I over-hugged him till he went to sleep, he was really happy but pretended to be all pissed off with me.

Damn this parenting lark is hard.

This morning I still had a throbbing headache from it all, and in need of empathy I called my friend, she was of course, as I knew she would be, empathetic and shared her own stories of her children’s shoplifting incidents. While I was on the phone, there was a knock on the door.
It was the guard man from the apartment building next door.
He said he just wanted to ask if I was aware that there was an incident with a skateboard, Kevin and a glass door.
I did not have the energy for it, I knew he wanted an apology and an offer of financial recompense, but I just said,
” Thanks for asking, yes I am aware, and shut the door before the tail end of my tether hit me in the face.

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