Almost 2 weeks ago, I had come inside from [who cares] and grabbed my laptop, which was on the kitchen counter, right next to everything else. Pressing the 'on' button, I noticed that the plastic was cracked along the side of the screen. Though I heard my computer turn on, all I saw was a white screen. Completely white.
"Uh, what happened to my computer?" I called out to No One.
Curly's answer came from downstairs: "Superstar broke it."
"She dropped it on the floor."
My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. After a few banging beats of my heart and a deep breath, I hustled down the stairs. My inclination was to yell. To scream. I didn't.
"Superstar." Our eyes met and hers fell. I took another deep breath and turned off the television. I looked at my two daughters and their friend. "You all . . . should leave."
"Yeah. Now. Go next door." The three of them stood up and scrambled out the door as quickly as they could.
I paced. I clenched my fists. I fought back angry tears, the kind which long to summon the powers of time travel: WHY hadn't I put my laptop back in my room? Or on the piano? ANYWHERE except where it was when it found itself fated to be dropped on the hard kitchen floor. One thing was certain: I would not allow myself to yell.
After a few minutes I decided that playing at a friend's house would not do as the appropriate temporary discipline she should receive while awaiting my decision on the appropriate more definite discipline she would certainly end up receiving at a to-be-determined time. I walked next door and found Superstar playing. I called her name and took her hand. "Everything okay?" asked my neighbor.
"She broke my laptop," I answered, and my neighbor responded with an appropriate look indicating that she knew just how much discipline/frustration this type of situation warranted.
My daughter and I walked back to our home where I said to her, "Go to your room." My voice was deep and firm. She who normally wails and stomps in defiance at the condemnation to her bed simply walked up the stairs and closed her door behind her.
I still wanted to yell. I wanted to scream. A part of me tried to rationalize that yelling would be completely justified in this situation, but the rest of me knew better. The rest of me knew what needed to be said, but I still needed time.
It was shortly after Darin walked in the door when I called Superstar down from her room. I hadn't intended for it to be a wait-until-your-father-gets-home type of situation, but the timing worked out because I did feel it important for him to be present while I said what I knew I needed to say.
"Superstar, I need to say some things to you. First, you need to know that what you did was not okay, and it's a big deal. You broke a computer, and that's something very important, very expensive -- I use it everyday for things to help our family. It's not okay that you broke it."
"I know you are. Second, I need to ask: why didn't you tell me about what had happened? Why did you wait for me to just find it?"
"I was worried that I broke it."
"You did break it."
"I know. But I thought I'd get in trouble."
"You are in trouble."
"I thought you'd be mad at me."
"What have I always said?"
"You said that if we tell the truth everything else can work out."
"Right. But you didn't tell me what happened, you tried to hide it, and that's not being honest. This is a bigger deal than the fact that you actually broke the computer."
"I know. Third . . . and, Superstar, I need you to listen very, very carefully because this is the most important thing that I have to say to you: I want you to know that you are more important than a computer. You mean more to me than any laptop, much, much more."
She burst into tears and jumped into my arms, and we cried together.