Please stand up!
Parenting has been rough lately. The child I thought would be easy to guide is giving us a run for every dollar. I should have known when he was smooth sailing in elementary school there’d be trouble ahead.
The high schooler has been busted for many things lately. We’ve had to turn our home into a tiny fortress. Not to keep the riff raff out, but to keep him from doing something crazy. Imagine waking up to find a window on the front of your house open to who knows what and your 17-year-old not in bed where you left him. Yeah? Everything you just thought, we thought and then some.
We take his cell phone because of sheer irresponsibility and crude content. Breaking all of our rules and guides regarding how you speak to others and content watched and shared is clear grounds for privileges revoked. What does he do? He goes and somehow gets a new one behind our backs. For someone who has no car, no job, no money, it was quite an amazing feat. He managed it. and I don’t buy his story of how he did it for a minute. Sigh.
We allow limited forays out with friends to keep him from feeling stifled. Heaven knows I don’t want my children to view me as a warden or drill instructor. Despite that I’m told, I know exactly what happens when he leaves this house. The lies are waist deep. Y’all, when I say I sit with my hands in my head every day, believe that is actual truth. My kid has too many faces to keep up with. And he juggles them with moderate efficiency.
When others reach out and say my child, the human I grew from scratch, says horrible things about me it tears me up. It hurts a hundred times worse when he smiles in my face, kisses my cheek, and says he loves me. I can take a lot, but such two-faced behavior from my own child is a twin-edged blade in the heart.
To heap mortal wounds atop near fatal injury, he’s been telling people how he dislikes his dad. His dad. The man who chose to love him, take care of him, give him his name and all the protection that implies. I can’t for the life of me begin to understand why he’d speak that way about someone who didn’t have to love and care for him but chose to do so. Watching the hubby’s heart break over callous words caused a deeply sleepless night.
Every mom instinct is screaming inside me. Daily. I have so many questions and never get any answers. Why seems to be the biggest one? Why would he lie about me then smile in my face? Why does he walk around telling people he dislikes his dad, calling him his stepdad? Why can’t he be honest with us?
Every day I keep going back to the story of the prodigal son. He left home, squandered his life, and lost everything. I wonder if that is what we are facing. Is my son going to take everything and leave, thinking the world has better to offer? Is he going to turn his back on what he’s been taught about love and faith? Will the world chew him up and spit him out? Is there nothing I can do to help him see the dangerous path he’s choosing?
My husband keeps reminding me that we will at some point have to let him go and live his own life. The very thought scares me spitless. I don’t like the idea of my child being chewed up by the world. The very thought breaks my heart. But, just like the father of the prodigal son, we will be here, home, to welcome him and remind him what family means.
I’m sure a countdown is somewhere ticking, counting down the days until he’s done with high school. Counting down the days until he can leave and release himself from our rules. Counting down the days until I possibly watch my child walk away from home and into life unknown. It’s ticking loudly and with each tick, a small piece of me wears away.