Like most people, before I had children I had some naive beliefs about what kind of parent I would be. I was even so bold in my ignorance as to voice some of my asinine opinions aloud. I was always spouting off random bits of stupidity like :
"My child will never walk around with a pacifier in it's mouth."
"My child will never run around all dirty and sticky like an orphan"
"My child will never shout at me"
"My child will eat what I put on their plate." God must have really had a chuckle at that one.
And, like most people, I had children of my own and my idealistic bubbles burst one by one.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Until I was left with nothing but the knowledge that parenting requires grace. Lots of grace, both in the giving and receiving department.
And some humble pie.
However, one misconception that I unknowingly managed to hold on to over the years, was the belief that wild trouble-making teenagers were the result of poor parenting. Whenever I heard of these kids, or saw them when I was out, my mind immediately went to the obvious deficiencies of their parents. They must be too lenient or give too much freedom. They must be too pampering or uninvolved. Their child must not have been raised in a home with strong morals, in a house that loves God. Because deep down I still believed that good parents had good kids. Plain and simple.
You would think I would have learned my lesson with the pacifier thing.
Over the last year - as I have been unable
my teenage son back onto the right path - that belief has crumbled as well. Or maybe my belief in myself has, chiseled away by my own damned impotence. Because either it's all completely out of my hands, this raising children thing, or I wasn't the parent I thought I was.
And whichever truth is valid, I can not help but be heartsick. And angry.
And no I haven't given up hope for my boy. I know that a troubled youth doesn't disqualify him for an abundant, successful life someday. But I have given up believing that there is anything I can do that will make much of a difference at this point. And that powerlessness, it makes me want to scream. Because I want something to do. Some way to fix this.
Something besides just pray. Did I really just type "JUST PRAY"?
So obviously there is a lesson in this for me. A lesson about letting go, and giving this up to God. About believing He can do what I couldn't, what I have failed at so completely. But it's a lesson I am fighting tooth and nail. Because fixing it is what I do. And not being able to, it just plain hurts.
Because I'm his mom.
Because, Lord, I'm his mom.
I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.