Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Parenting Woes

My oldest child, Aden, is on the brink of teendom. He's only 11, but going on 22. Thus far in the four months of the current school year, I've encountered many parenting obstacles. Suddenly, our "good" kid is acting out in numerous ways and forms. I want to shake him and make him tell me what is going on in his world, but I cannot do that. I want to baracade him in his room until he's of adult age, but again, that's not possible. Instead, I'm going to use this post as a vent, a sort of outlet, before I lose my mind.

My Dearest Aden,

I wish I could tell you that at 33 years old, I know the secrets to life, success, and the world. But, I don't. I cannot even pretend that I know the secrets to parenting. Afterall, you are our eldest, our guinea pig. Just when I think I have you figured out and have the rules made to cover everything, you grow up and you find loopholes.
As your mom, it is not only my job to love and protect you, provide you with food, clothing, and a roof over your head, but it is also to provide you with a sense of moral and value, and the tools so that you can function successfully as an adult. The term success can be defined as many things, but in this house and in my eyes, success means happiness. Happiness is not easily found as an adult when you're thrusted into the cold, harsh world. One can make all the money in the world to afford anything they desire in life, but it doesn't mean they are happy.

There were no rule books given to me at your birth, even though I wish there were. There are no definitive lines. Most of parenting is grey. Sometimes I have to rely on my instincts, and honestly, I have to learn to trust them. Sometimes I just want to reach out and hold you tight, but the lessons you must learn are more important than the knot in the pit of my stomach. I overreact often, it is in my nature. And sometimes, dare I say, I am wrong.
In a few years, you'll be starting down this long and bumpy road of teen self-discovery. It doesn't really end, I'm afraid, until your mid-twenties. I wish I could give you a peice of paper that certified you as who you are, but it doesn't work like that. I'll hold your hand when you want me to. I'll guide you to the best of my ability. I'll watch you from afar, when you won't even know I'm there. I'll bit my lip to keep from picking you up when you fall, for you'll have to learn to pick yourself back up and brush yourself off.  Right now son, you're just staring at the road signs pointing out that harsh road. The choices you make now, directly affect your future.
You're growing up and that means I'm growing too. I'm learning along the way, the same as you. I wish I could tell you that I have this all down pat and I've done this all before. But I don't.

Hopefully, when you're a grown adult, lightbulbs will go off and you'll understand the reasons your dad and I do the things we do and say the things we say. Until then, you'll have to trust that we know what we're talking about. Well, at least most of the time.

The most important thing is that we love you.

Your Ma

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