Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Parenting Struggles

Something has been weighing heavy on my mind lately. A friend came to me recently to share how she was feeling about her teenage son’s relationship with his girlfriend. Identity of the individuals is under wraps because I didn’t ask to share the story. She thinks that her son is now sleeping with his girlfriend. They are both seniors in high school. He also might be buying her a promise ring for Christmas. Her story hits home with me because if I fast forward a few years, I might be standing in the exact same position. What a different perspective you have from a parent’s point of view.

It is easy for me to sit there and say, you have to talk with him in a respectful manner. Don’t yell at him, don’t lecture him, you are lucky you are just now running into the sex issue with your son. For a lot of teenagers it comes sooner than their senior year. But, deep down inside I know that I will probably be feeling the exact same way the day I have a feeling Wyatt or Waylon might be getting a little too serious about a girl. Disappointed, sad, broken hearted are just a couple of things I might be feeling like my friend.

I look back to when I was that age and as much as I wish I would have waited for me and Dale to get married now, that wasn’t reality. We thought we had it all together, knew everything, knew exactly what we were doing, thought no one outside of my immediate friends especially my parents were none the wiser. As a parent I can see now that I was so wrong, way too young, and way too irresponsible. What if something would have happened, what if I got pregnant? I could have kissed my softball playing, cross country and track running to pay for school self goodbye. And where would I be today? God only knows.

That is what my friend is dealing with. She did get pregnant and life was hard for them. She is wishing her son doesn’t have to feel the pain she felt. I can only imagine I will feel the same way. He is on the verge of picking a school and having an athletic scholarship. She wants to avoid heartbreak and broken dreams for him. As every parent I know does. If only we could make life smooth sailing and successful for our babies with little to no pain. But where would they be, how would they end up? We have to let them hurt and have their own life experiences as much as we don’t want to go through that because honestly it probably hurts us way more than they think it is hurting them.

So, what do you do? You try your hardest to have a good relationship with your kids, give them the right tools, do what you can to instill integrity, responsibility, and a love for Christ that runs deep into their soul and pray like you-know-what that that’s what does the trick. I can honestly say I am proud of who I am and I wouldn’t be this way without some of the hardships I faced. Do I wish I would have done a couple of things differently? Absolutely, but they made me stronger and who I am today and that is all I can ask for in my boys. I pray as we hit the teenage years that our relationship is strong, that they are good kids, and that we are close and we have a great support system around us for when we do stumble. And I pray the same for my friends out there that will have similar struggles. No one said this parenting thing was easy, but no one can really help you understand just how difficult it can be. Not because you fight or things don’t always go right, but by how much your heart can ache just by wanting them to be happy, SAFE, and see them fulfill their dreams and by not being able to protect and squash ANYTHING that might stand in their way. Best wishes to those mommy’s and daddy’s out there.

And Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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