First I would have to establish which time, as it happened pretty often, though it rarely stuck. I rarely got into any serious trouble, but I was a handful, and my mother often found herself on the losing end of a battle of wills. There are a few times that stick out in my memory.
There was the time when I was about twelve and she grounded me, for what exactly I don’t recall, and when she told me I couldn’t leave the house for a week, I replied « well than I guess neither can you, because the minute you leave this house, so do I! ». We laugh about it now, but I can only imagine how much she must have wanted to murder me. I had basically told her that in order to punish me, she would have to punish herself to enforce it. This incident really set the disciplinary tone in our household for years to come.
There was the time my BFF and I stayed out too late. Her mom called my mom, and both moms, though not actually that worried, acted very concerned. When I got home I was grounded, not for being late, but for getting my BFF in trouble. The irony. She got grounded for the same reason, getting me in trouble. So while neither of us was actually in trouble, we were grounded for getting the other in trouble.
After that, there was the one and only time I got into trouble at school. I’m not saying I never did anything against the rules; I was just really good at not getting caught and/or talking myself out of it. Not this time though, the teacher involved disliked me and there was no getting out of a suspension. I had called her a rather colourful name, rather loudly, in front of the whole class. I went home and explained what happened to my mom. She was not impressed, but not upset either. She told me that I should not have said it the way I did, but that she understood the sentiment for that particular teacher. Afterwards, I was surprised at how no one seemed to be acting any different; I had expected other teachers to react negatively to my huge lack of respect for one of their colleagues. I would learn years later that the other teachers thought the same thing; they just hadn’t said it out loud in front of 30 witnesses.
So my mom grounded me because that is what a parent does when their kid is suspended from school, but I spent most of my time either with her at the bar or sitting outside writing. Lucky for me the suspension in question happened in late spring. Since I was not allowed on school property during that time, at the end of the school day I would wait for my friends at the sidewalk, just inches off the school’s property line, in plain view of the teacher in question’s class. I would wave to her, and yes, I know it must have infuriated her.
The last grounding is the one I have to thank most, because it was that one that got me writing for fun. I had always been an avid reader, but during those days of suspension/grounding, I started writing to pass the time, and discovered a whole new form of expression. Today the simple act of putting pen to paper calms me, focuses me. I probably would have discovered it anyway, later, but that suspension was one of the best things to happen to me.