A friend said something to me recently. We were discussing our teenagers and how hard parenting has been in the last couple of years. She said she thought I had made it through the worst of it. I hope she is right, but also afraid to even think that. “Knock on wood”.
Reflecting on the last couple of years in our house is enough to make my stomach hurt again much like it did during the worst parts of the worst parts. That’s the thing about going through bad parts…you remember them. You never want to go through them again and yet your mind takes you back there. Even the phrase, “made it through” makes me think of walking into a dark forest filled with briars, snakes, spiders, and all sorts of hidden dangers. Even if you walk in with a compass, you may get turned around and come out scratched, bitten, limping, etc.
Life is really about perspective. Our teenaged “dark forest” would certainly be poopooed by someone whose child was killed in an accident, or became addicted to drugs or alcohol, or who dealt with unbearable bullying, or had to deal with mental illness, or even someone who had to deal with a teenage pregnancy. The thing is, we all deal with what we are given. All of these will beat you up as a parent and leave you lying in bed wondering if you are handling it the right way. I don’t know if there is ever a right way.
I bear my scratches and bruises and will share my insights if not the details of the forest. Nobody really wants to know how dark and scary the forest is. They just want to know that there is a way out. So carry the compass with you around your neck , a bible in one hand, and hold on tight to your teen’s hand with the other. If necessary, tie a rope around their waist and drag them through! Like my Mother says, you just do your best and pray.