It’s easy to pretend things are a certain way when you can’t see the reality of the situation, when you don’t permit your mind to go there. Sure, you have thoughts and ideas of how things are, but then reality comes along and slaps you in the face.
Until this point, I had no idea how bad it was.
You spend a good portion of your adult life pouring yourself and everything you have into someone just to have them hate you. You all know what I mean, I’m talking about our kids… I’ve often heard it said that if your child doesn’t hate you at some point then you aren’t doing a good job as a parent. I guess I can take comfort in that.
Look, I’ve already explained that I made mistakes as a parent. I know I’ve learned from those mistakes and because of them, I am a much better person and mom. But, at some point, your child (especially your adult child) must take responsibility for his actions and choices. He can’t spend the rest of his life blaming others for his current situation. And his situation, as much as he wants to pretend isn’t, is disastrous.
Truth Time: My kid is in trouble and he has no one watching out for him. After being separated from the Army, he moved back home. Two months of rules, which included paying rent and keeping a job, he decided it was too much responsibility. He made the choice to move in with his biological mother. We have been able to keep tabs, so to speak, on him through social media. We’ve seen the way that he is living and it breaks our hearts, especially because we know there’s nothing we can do. I chose to stop looking, not because I didn’t care, but because I cared too much. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
You’d like to believe that, wouldn’t you?! Your children are never out of your mind and are a continuous source of worry. But again, there is only so much you can do. I believe we gave the same opportunities to each one of our children. Opportunities to succeed in life and better themselves. They had choices and they had consequences to those choices. Those consequences could be good or bad, based on their decisions. Make a good decision, be rewarded. Make a bad decision and face the repercussions. By no means were our punishments out of the norm. Grounding, taking away electronics, etc; if that is enough to make you the world’s worst parent in the eyes of your child, then so be it.
My son hates me for wanting a better life for him. I had to accept that.
I was okay with him feeling the way he did about me, but to attack his siblings… that’s a completely different matter. And one I was not prepared to deal with.
Reality Hits Home: A friend of my youngest ran into his brother yesterday. The conversation went something like this:
- S: You’re my brother’s friend, right?
- C: Yes
- S: F*** that guy.
- C: You came over here to tell me that?
- S: Nah man, but f*** him and that whole family. That whole family is a façade. F*** them.
- C: What?
- S: I heard he’s trying to get in the military.
- C: He’s already enlisted, so he’s in.
- S: Oh well, he’s just trying to one up me. F*** him.
- C: What is the point of this conversation?
- S: You know, man, just that whole family is f***** up and it’s all a façade.
- C: O….K…
- C walks away scratching his head, calls D to fill him in.
Now, the reaction of my other kids didn’t surprise me. They’ve been numb to this kind of thing for a while now. I guess lots of practice from dealing with previous similar situations. They went through feelings of sadness at the loss of one mom and now the loss of their brother, but they have been extremely resilient. So the reaction to this latest attack was laughter. They knew none of it was true so why give any validation to it?
I could learn a thing or ten from my two youngest. I really should have just blown it off and laughed, like they did.
But, y’all know that isn’t me… I had to over analyze every word and try to figure out the whys. If I could dissect every aspect of this conversation, I could find a way to fix everything.
First, I was heartbroken. Hate me all you want, but your brother and sister did nothing to you. Once the heartbreak passed, the anger hit. Anger, that’s something I’ve struggled with all my life. I get angry and then I want vengeance. Someone hurts me or my family and I want to punish them and make them hurt just as much. But, not this time. I know S is suffering. I know he’s not happy with the way things are and I know he has to want more out of life. So rather than be angry with him, I am choosing to pray. I will pray for him to figure out what’s important in life and to change his ways so he can accomplish and acquire those things. I will continue to have hope for him, the same way I have been hoping his mother would improve her situation over the last twelve years. I have hope that things will change and they will be happy and that maybe one day, we will be able to mend our relationships.
In the meantime, I will find pleasure in watching my youngest son and my daughter flourish. I will take pride in their accomplishments. I will continue to watch them work hard to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Goals that will allow them to be productive members of society, goals that will allow them to be happy.
After all, that’s what every parent wants for their kids, right?