As parents, we get to belong to lots of ‘clubs.’ Most of them are great—fun places to share the joys of childrearing. There’s the ‘I survived the terrible twos’ club and the ‘My baby just started Kindergarten’ club, the ‘Parent of an athlete’ club and the ‘Parent of a bench-warmer’ club, the ‘Parent of a scholar’ club, the ‘Parent of a scholar athlete’ club, the ‘Parent of a cheerleader’ club, the ‘Home-schooling parent’ club, the ‘Parent of LOTS of kids’ club…and about a million more that we could belong to. (Yes, I belong to all of the above, and probably a few hundred more, at least.) When you add the adoption dimension to parenting, the number of ‘clubs’ can grow exponentially. For the most part, it’s a good thing. All of those clubs are positive fun places to be.
There is at least one club that no one wants to join—the ‘Parent of a child who has died’ club. While I do NOT belong to that club (and Lord willing won’t!) I have several friends who are members, and with Brent in the Marine Corps I have had to come to terms with the fact that some day I too may be initiated into that group. I don’t want to join—no one does—but I know that should it happen, God will provide what I need to survive. My friends are living proof. There’s also the ‘My child has a serious/life threatening/fatal health issue’ club. My sister belongs to that one. I suspect she would call it a club no one wants to join, but many have.
Then there’s this last club, the ‘You were raised better than this’ club. It’s not a fun place to be. Actually, it’s very awkward. No one wants to be there, but unlike the parents of children with serious health problems or children who have died, there’s an ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ feeling to the club. I think in this club most parents feel like they’ve failed somewhere. I know I spend plenty of time beating myself up over where I/we went wrong. I also know that the child in question really was raised better than they are acting right now. Many of the things we are seeing were NOT modeled for this child. They were not taught to this child in our home. As a matter of fact, some of the things we see were specifically taught as wrong. It doesn’t seem to matter much right now. Somehow I thought that at this point we’d be mostly finished parenting some of these guys. Apparently not. But this particular child is not making things easy. So we take it one day…one step at a time. And pray. Man, how I pray! I take comfort in these words
As the rain and the snow come down from heave, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:11
Some things don’t change, even when our children are acting in a manner than grants us entry to that dreaded ‘You were raised better than this’ club. The first thing that doesn’t change? How much that child is loved. That’s part of what makes it so hard. Another thing that doesn’t change? Chocolate helps. :) At least temporarily.
Pass me that box of See’s… (Actually, it’s a good thing I gave up sugar. Otherwise, it would be tempting. Really tempting. Heck—who am I kidding??? It IS tempting, and it would be GONE!!)