As a child I was only grounded one time. I was eleven and at a football game and decided to spray paint my hair green with my friends which I knew I’d get in trouble for, but I did it anyway. But then I walked around to the visitor stands, which I knew I wasn’t allowed to do, but did it anyway. It was years before I realized that the only way they spotted me was because of the green hair. I suppose I deserved it.
My parents’ idea of grounding isn’t the normal kind. I was never sent to my room. Instead I had to work constantly for the entire weekend. (I think I mowed the same lawn three times.) Every time this story comes up with my own children, they think it’s hilarious, and now that they’re older, and have not yet been grounded, a bit more insightful.
“I don’t know why a parent would just send a kid to his or her room. That doesn’t sound like very good punishment. You could just hang out and read books and stuff.”
And just like that, I started to brainstorm about how absolutely wonderful it would be if I got myself traditionally grounded, not like that insanity that was the punishment of my parents. Think of the lack of responsibilities! The chance for silence! The justification of being locked in your room alone without being sick and contagious! I can just hear someone yelling at me now…
Stay in your room! OK, no problem there. Can I be there all day and night so I don’t have to make dinner or drive anyone anywhere or help anyone with math?
No TV! OK, I’m not sure if the TV in our room even works because it has been months since there has been a minute of time between hitting the pillow and falling asleep. Does that mean I can just read books? All day?
No phone! OK, if you insist. I won’t receive any work related emails or volunteer requests, I won’t scroll through ridiculous political posts by my friends. I also won’t be able to receive messages from the kids even though they are in the same house. I suppose I can live without it.
No visitors! OK, as long as that means that no one, and I mean no one, can barge in while I’m being punished and disrupt the peaceful retreat, er, I mean my sentence. I wouldn’t want anyone to see that during these times of justice I was wearing my most comfortable pair of sweats and a cozy beanie so that I didn’t have to fix my hair.
All of this said, if anyone sees me with a can of green hair color at the next football game, you’ll understand. And if I see that tired look of parenting in your eyes, I’ll share.
Originally written 9.11.16