Children are a gift that we are entrusted with to nurture and train until we can let them go into this cruel world and mark their spot. We, as mothers, carry them for 9 months. Living and breathing baby. Baby names, baby furniture, baby clothes. If the father is lucky, we let him think he picked the name and determined the sex. (I know he does, but you have to feed the ego)
We, as parents, dream of what they will be as they grow. We crave that first word, that first step. The first “Momma” or “Dadda”. Years of hoping we are being good parents. Depriving ourselves of sleep, proper clothes, long bubble baths (I can dream can’t I?) and intimate moments with our spouses. We do it all for our children.
I remember when I got my first job after the baby. She was three. I was asked why I was applying for the job. I said the first thing that came to mind. “I wanted to talk to somebody who speaks “ADULT” .”
Being the person I am, I quickly realized I didn’t want someone else raising my kids. I found a job I could do from home. Life was good. Life had order. Life was peaceful. Then “IT” happened.
The phone rang one night and the voice on the other end sounded so sweet and innocent. “Can I talk to ____?” (just fill in the blank, we’ve all been there) I handed the phone over to my 13 year old. The rest is history.
Life now became a constant struggle of not enough time or money. Being accused of being too strict. Ruining lives.
My response to the whole thing was simple. My job is to make sure she graduates, goes to college, and either a) marries and has children or b) starts her career. I told her I was legally obligated to feed her once a day and if it was through a key hole to keep her safe then so be it. (I was kidding….kind of)
My teenage daughter was a leader. She had what seemed to be a million friends. Every party had an invitation for her. Until the day she met her “one true love.”
All she thought about was him. All she talked about was him. All she ever said was “He says (this or that)”. Guess what? I don’t care what he says. He isn’t raising her. I am. My rules or nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, I am strict but not that strict. I am often accused by other family members of spoiling her too much. She is so beautiful, though and so special, I would tell them. Boy was I in for a shock.
My daughter asked if she could go to church with a friend. Innocent enough. I said yes. When she did not come home at the expected time, I got scared. I called the friend’s house. She was not there. She had not gone to church and no-one knew where she was.
Being the mom, I know every where she is and every one she is with. I found her in a matter of two minutes, literally. I threw her in the car. Screaming about how life for her was over, I took her home. She actually lied and said she had been to church and didn’t know why I was so upset. That was number two. I am not patient and wasn’t about to let it get to three.
Every privilege she had was taken. Phone, computer, TV, all of it. Well, she didn’t like that. I found that out at 7 the next morning.
We were to have a yard sale, and I was waking everyone up to help. Her room was empty. Clothes everywhere. Duffel bag gone. I lost it. Then I found the note.
“I am sorry, mom. I love you, but I can’t take it anymore.” Take what? Me keeping her safe? Me protecting her from the reality of harsh truth that lives outside our four walls? That was it. Exactly. She wanted to play grown-up and I wouldn’t let her.
To make a very long story short, she was home the same day. She was safe. But that one night on the streets made us both think. And talk.
We do a lot of that now. Even if she says something I do not want to hear, I listen. When I tell her my decision on something, I also make sure to tell her why. We try to see things from each other’s eyes. Because we want to see those eyes filled with love and life for a very long time.
If you are a parent reading this, I hope you never have to go through any thing like I did when I realized she was gone. If you are a teenager reading this, think about it long and hard before you try something like this. There has to be another way. My daughter was one of the lucky ones.