Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Waiting to Leave ... Leaving to Wait

Have I ever blogged before about how ironic life is? Yeah, I know I have, and this morning I reflect upon the ironies of last night in our family's life. We have a fourteen-year-old daughter who is impatiently waiting to leave our home beacuse it is such a bad place to live, and we have an eighteen-year-old son who is leaving his apartment (after less than a month) to wait who knows where for the next place to live. When he was fourteen, Mike said many of the same things Salinda tells us now: we parents are too strict, we won't let our kids do anything, we are too controlling, we don't trust them, they can't wait until the day they can leave. We've heard it so many times that it hardly registers anymore when someone who is fourteen decides to spew their billious gall in our direction. It is always a bit irritating, of course, because after last night's whole debacle it is the awful parents who go to work feeling sleep-deprived while the horrendously mistreated child in question gets to sleep the morning away.

It's strange, really, that on the very same night we have one child desperately seeking to leave our home and another child who is desperately trying to find a way to get back into our home. It's one of those odd moments, when parents must do all we can to provide safety for a kid who doesn't want it and to maintain distance from another (now adult) child who seeks the safety of a home, even our most despicable home.

I realize I sound a bit cynical as I type these words, but I hope I am less cynical than I am realistic, and I hope I can continue to remind myself that for both of our children currently in crisis it really isn't about us or our parenting techniques. It is really about the place they find themselves in life. If it must be this way (and with most adolescents and young adults, I suppose the story is vaguely familiar to parents who read this) at least both of them have parents who choose to love them even when barraged with hate and disdain. At least they are growing up in a home where they are not neglected, beaten for defiant behavior, or subjected to sexual or chemical abuse. And that's more than can be said of the early home environments from which they came. Not much consolation on the morning after a night like we've had, but it is something to hang on to.

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