Parenting is hard work, y’all.
I spent some time today with a friend in a tough parenting position right now.
REBELLIOUS TEEN REJECTS PARENTAL VALUES!!!!!!
Not unusual, totally stereotypical – but completely sucky when it’s your turn.
We talked, and that’s about it. Sometimes, just talking about it is all you get. Encouragement to continue to communicate, to be present, to be supportive, to differentiate; sometimes that’s the best you can do. Lord knows we can’t run in and fix the problem like we did when they were four. That ain’t happening.
Other conversations today included young adult trying to figure out life, and as that phrase still applies to most of us (just change the modifier to ‘middle-aged’ or ‘older’ and there you go), sometimes that’s nothing more than a crap shoot and a revealing conversation, and some well-meaning advice.
There was a reminder today, at one point, of a terrible season of parenting for a different friend that caused no small amount of tears, frustration and anger. My friend said At one point, I contemplated killing her, and he was serious. Almost.
Point being, that season morphed into another, and yet another, and that child is now thriving – a responsible citizen of the world that gives her parents reason to be filled with joy.
We forget the challenges, later, when the joy comes. It’s like childbirth, in a way; I recall that no less than one minute after the most excruciating, exhilarating, primal pain my body had ever experienced, when that baby was placed in my arms nothing else mattered. The pain? Forgotten, so swiftly to make it seem as though it didn’t even happen.
But it does happen, these hard times; and it makes us what we are. It gives us a necessary past for all of our futures, so that when we step back and remember, we see possibility. We are able to remind one another that this is life, all of it.
For you parents tonight who are struggling – with kids that never stop, with the pushing back and acting out, with the rebellion that feels personal: Take heart.
It will subside.
They will settle.
It’s not personal.
It may be hard, but it’s not unbearable; and, in fact, it is necessary. You’ll know, one day – and it’s not too far away. You’ll look back and connect the dots, and you’ll look forward and smile. Consider it joy, if you can, and know that you will endure.
The proof is in the memories that you already hold. Think of one, right now, and see how far you’ve come.