Dear Ace, Mother’s Day has come and gone, and as a mother of four, I am once again left to ponder exactly what it is that I have accomplished over the last 30 years I have been raising children. Isn’t there a law somewhere that says you just DO NOT STEAL from your mother? Maybe I was raised in different times, or maybe I just really loved my mother, but come on, to take your own mother’s hard-earned money? Be for real! Can I really TRUST my daughter now? Would you?—Anon.
Dear Anon., Usually parenting questions are reserved for Ace Atkin’s spiritual stepsister Ann Landers, but Ace likes your take-no-crap maternal attitude, so he will address your dilemma. Having just read an article in the April issue of Wired magazine about the greatest diamond heist of all time, Ace wonders if some people might simply be born to steal. The Sicilian man behind the infamous 2003 operation in the Antwerp Diamond District–Leonardo Notarbartolo–robbed his milkman at the age of 6. He was caught and his mother beat him senseless, but did that turn him off a life of crime? No. Is he a millionaire now entirely through illegal channels? Oh, yes. And his mother probably gets diamond necklaces every year on Mother’s Day. The point is, sometimes mothers don’t have total control over their children’s more unsavory callings. Just ask Mama Atkins, who always thought her son would grow up to be a space astronaut. But he is only a land astronaut, and a so-so one at that.
Ace thinks you should count your blessings. Your child stole from you rather than from a liquor store or from a bank or from someone more likely to send her directly to jail. At least your daughter is keeping it in the family and out of the papers. There’s also the possibility that your child is in some kind of trouble. Notarbartolo steals for the thrill of it, but most people steal out of desperation. Ace recommends taking yourself out of the equation and talking to your child about the root cause of her theft. Stop focusing on how your daughter’s crime reflects on your parenting skills and focus on why your child needed to go there in the first place. Does she need attention? Is she on drugs? Does she want some new shoes? Any of these are good excuses for stealing from one’s mother. Unless, of course, you’re Ace Atkins, in which case you know better. Mama Atkins didn’t raise no fool.
You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.