Kidnapped: Shannon Webb, mother of 5 and wife of Greg
Kidnappers: Daughters Tayler, age 15, Morgan, age 10, Loren (aka Lolo) age 7, the older sisters of Kale, age 4 and Charlie, age 2.
Huntington Beach is a vacation destination for so many families….a place to make memories and become closer. However, some of their OWN residents couldn’t have been further apart.
“My family plays the biggest role in my life. They’re my reason that I do everything I do” Shannon began telling us. Holding both a jobs as a VP of sales for an intake center for law offices nationwide AND a job as a longshoreman, Shannon worked to be sure her family was secure. “In my last marriage I was financially dependent upon him. I will never, ever go back to the place where I don’t have control of being able to take care of my children”. The only problem….she provided financially for her children but wasn’t present in their lives.
“My mom use to be my best friend” Shannon’s oldest daughter, Tayler shared. With her mom always working, Tayler found that she was missing her childhood and her mother. “I think that Greg and I have been raising Charlie. I taught her how to walk. Her first step was to me”. Resentful of being the acting mom of her 4 siblings, Shannon considered moving to her grandparents home in Texas. The pressure and responsibility she was feeling was just too much. “I want to be a teenager so bad and I know it sounds weird because I am a teenager, but I want to like go out” she explains as she fights back tears. Then little Lolo who is only 7 years old reminded us that “Tayler is a lot like our mom. Like people will see how much she works and call her the mom instead of my mom”. This has to be difficult on all of the children being so disconnected from their mother.
Clearly this family was in need of a kidnapping! The plan…capture mom at the coffee shop on her way to work. They had packed the bags and written personal letters to their mom explaining how they were feeling. The day arrived and as everyone got ready to put the plan into action, mom wondered where the toothpaste was…NO!!!! Tayler had packed it. Luckily they we able to sneak it our and mom was still in the dark. As mom headed out the door, the family quickly followed in hot pursuit, careful not to be seen.
“I’m going to try something different today” she tells the barista. She had no idea how true that statement really was. As she ordered her drink, in came the kids and dad all excited and shouting that they were kidnapping her. Mom had no idea what was coming. The children then began to read their letters.
Morgan was sweet. She wanted for her and her mom to get to know each other better and told her that she would had to give up her phone! As Tayler tells her mom to give up the phone, Shannon began to look nervous and possibly even irritated. Thinking it was a joke at first, she handed over the phone and tried to take it all in. Then her husband Greg spoke. He told her that he wanted to reconnect and looked forward to spending some time with her. Tayler’s letter was more serious…an honest cry for help. “I’m fed up with you working so much. I think I’m so fed up because of the fact that I spend more time with your babies than you do… I’m your kid too, not a nanny”. Her message was clear and real.
The destination was spilled and all the girls were all heading to Catalina. As they loaded into the car to leave, Shannon shared with Greg “I’m scared honey”. I can only imagine how hard it must have been…her kids weren’t happy and she needed to fix it.
As they got off the boat in Avalon Harbor, it didn’t take long for mom to lose focus. Still nervous about whether the kids coordinated with her jobs, mom asked them if she could have her phone to make a call. Tyler reminded her mother that she was in charge and there would be no phones.
Knowing that their mom didn’t really enjoy fishing, the kids put her to the test…to see if she would do it for her kids. The kids love to fish and normally go out with their father to fish (and Shannon avoids it). She wouldn’t touch the fish, the pole or anything. However…she was there. Then, Lolo caught her first fish and mom jumped into action. Tayler then nabs one which jumped back into the water on its own as mother and daughter laughed. When Shannon realized that Morgan may feel sensitive, she was determined not to leave until she helped her daughter catch her own fish. She did. It appears the fishing trip turned around. Admitting that she was faking at first so her daughters would think she was having fun, mom eventually joined her daughters in the moment and the laughter.
So what was next on their agenda? Ziplining. For the first time I felt badly for Shannon. As she reassured Lolo that she would be alright and that “she’d never let anything bad” happen to her, you could tell she was nervous. However, Tayler was relieved that her mother was stepping up and she could just be one of her kids. In all, the trip to Catalina seemed to bring them all a little closer.
As the car pulled back to the house and reality, the news soon came that it wasn’t over….the kids were still in charge. It was now time for some one-on-one. Lolo was the first to have a date with her mom and the two spent time playing dodgeball and tag. Laughter filled the air. As Shannon told Lolo how she was going to make more time for her and how she had enjoyed the day, Lolo couldn’t help but ask “did you think about work?”. A smile covered her face as her mom told her “not one time”. Then Morgan had her chance. A little more girlie-girl than the others, she decided to take mom to get their nails done. As they sat getting pampered they took turns asking each other questions…getting to know each other a little more. A very good start!
So I wondered…what would Tayler ask for? A day out shopping, a concert or dinner out at a cool restaurant? Actually, she didn’t want much. She choose to paint a mural in her room that had been started long ago by her and her mother. An unfinished project and a reminder of happy times they had spent drawing. As they began the sentimental painting, Tayler asked her mom if she could talk to her about something to which her mother replied “No. I don’t want any emotional crap. You understand me?”. I had to back it up to listen again because I couldn’t believe it. How could a mom say that to her own child? . I understand that Shannon was scared of what Tayler had to say, but it needed to be heard…she deserved to be heard.
Tyler later shared that she doesn’t need alone time, but she does need to hear that her mother cares. Shannon hadn’t realize she wasn’t doing that for her daughter. Aware her daughter was needing her, she shared with Tayler the fears she had when she born. Being a young mother, she worried about screwing her up. Shannon let her daughter know that “when I look at you now, I couldn’t be more proud”. Simple words that make all the difference to a young girl. With that, Tayler felt like her mom “just picked up her heart and put it back together”.
The next day Shannon was given the task of doing some household chores and watching the kids. Greg and Tayler were going out. Greg knew exactly what he wanted to do with his free time…he wanted to ride his motorcycle, something he rarely got to do now. However, Tayler decided to have a little “teen” time with her friend. A chance to get out and not worry. A well deserved break.
How did Shannon do? After a day of doing Tayler’s chores, she began to realize she was taking her family for granted. Tayler was too young to be taking on so much. Shannon and Greg decided it was time to bring back “Family Fun Night”. They were all so excited. Starting with a dance-off, the family seemed to be getting back on track.
Feeling “stronger as a unit”, Shannon promised to not forget the lessons she learned over the week. She committed to leave her work at the door and be more present in their lives. I only hope that once the cameras stop rolling, that the communication continues. Although Tayler articulated herself very well, I am not sure she fully expressed how overwhelmed she is with all of the responsibilities. It is clear that they all love each other very much. Shannon has a wonderful family and has worked hard to be sure that they are secure. She is on the right track…she just needs to relax a bit and spend some time with them now. With such a wonderful family…it would a shame to miss a moment.