It got me thinking about an adage I read at some point–something like the bigger the kid, the bigger the problems. So true.
For example, a toddler might stuff a Pop Tart in your in-laws’ 8-track tape player, then turn it on. You rush in to clean up the mess, replace the unit if needed, and do your best to keep the little tyke occupied while at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. (Not that I speak from personal experience...)
If your 5-year-old son is caught “relieving himself” against a tree during recess, in full view of a half dozen third-grade girls, you can spend your 15 minutes in the principal’s office apologizing, then take your son home to impress on him that just because Daddy might have taught him it’s okay to do that in the woods doesn’t mean it’s okay in public. (Not that I speak from personal experience...)
But when they’re older, even the “child’s” most seemingly innocuous error in judgement can turn bad, quickly. And when you can’t help, it’s hard to sit back and watch.
Case in point: When my son was a senior in high school, he borrowed my car one Friday night to drive over to a friend’s house to hang out. Around 11 p.m., as I was heading for bed, the phone rang. It was the local police, wanting to know who was driving my car.
Instantly visions of twisted metal, flipped cars and spinning wheels filled my head, and as my heart galloped, I answered, “That would be my son. Why?”
Officer: “You need to contact him and bring him into the station. Now.”
Turns out my son was driving around with a car full of other kids (which was very much against our rules), and while stopped at a red light, one of the boys rolled down the window and shot Silly String at the car next to it. That car happened to be a brand-new, sporty Mercedes, owned by one of the town’s big-shot attorneys.
When the attorney rolled down his window, started yelling and waving his arms at the potential damage to his expensive ride, my son, being an 18-year-old “adult,” decided the best course of action would be to make a run for it. Thus began a car chase through the rolling hills of central New Jersey.
|Image courtesy of tomekkno via |
Pixabay, CCO Public Domain
Apparently the attorney got tired of torturing his fancy car with the winding, gravel-lined roads in that area and returned to the police station to file a report, and I had to drive my son to the police station to answer for his actions.
I’ll never forget my fear and helplessness as I watched the officer lead him to a room in the back of the police station for questioning. In the end, no charges were filed, but the attorney had a full year to change his mind. At the time, my son had won a full scholarship to the college of his choice and had about a month left before graduating high school with honors. I worried for a solid year.
Now, almost 15 years later, I can look back with some perspective.
First, what the heck was that attorney thinking, chasing a car full of kids like that? Maybe he should have been given a ticket!
But mainly I realize how lucky we were that it wasn’t worse. There were no injuries to people or property....although my car did achieve legendary status among my son’s friends and classmates. Yay.
We’re so lucky that as much as that experience grayed some of my hair, it scared the you-know-what out of my son as well. I’m not saying he never again pulled a bone-headed act, but he did graduate and go on to college. In fact, he is now in the final stages of earning his Ph.D.
Has my heart ached for him over one thing or another over these years? Of course, there have been hard times and problems. But at this point, like then, all I can do is pray, lend an ear, or a hand–when asked!–to help him over the bumps in the road.
If you are one of those parents whose “kids” are going through a tough time right now, my heart aches for you as you sit and watch, and feel for them.
Parenting, even for the “experienced,” is not for the faint at heart.
Leah writes stories of mystery and suspense, good and evil, and the power of love. She loves exploring different love relationships -- like between husband and wife, parent and child. In her Christmas Dance, she looks at marriage after the Happy Ever After.
Alexandra Anderson has a loving husband who provides for her every need, a beautiful home in the suburbs, and money to fulfill her slightest whim. But after a lonely childhood, what she wants more than anything is a baby, a family of her own.
Sam Herrmann is married to his college sweetheart, and together they have three healthy, boisterous boys. Sam spends his days running numbers as a government accountant, and his nights and weekends trying to keep up with the grueling family schedule set by his wife – a wife he can barely remember.
What happens when two married people take a look at the perfect lives they've created and decide it's not enough? What happens when those same two people catch the eye of a stranger, and like what they see?
A story of love and marriage.
A story of hope.