Monday, May 24, 2010
At a Loss
Any parent would agree that raising children is not easy. They start out so sweet, innocent, and vulnerable, looking to us for their every need. As they grow we celebrate their small steps toward independence. We take pictures, keep baby books and journals, and make home movies. During all of this, we’re not really thinking about what comes later. We’re not lamenting on how we’re going to handle certain situations. Oh, don’t get me wrong… we have our ideas! We have strong ideas. We hear other’s horror stories and say with righteous indignation, “Not my child!” Well, let me tell you something… that will come back to bite you in the “a double arse” later.
So here I am… facing some issues with my daughter that I never thought I would have to deal with. I have no idea what I’m doing because I just didn’t expect this. She was “raised better than this.” I can’t tell you I did everything right with my kids. I did a lot of “guilty parenting” after my divorce, even though I knew a divorce was the healthiest thing for us, both emotionally and physically. If you’re curious about this, then read my first blog. I can also tell you that from the time they were born, I worked hard to give them the childhood I never had. My mother drank, did drugs and passed me around to whoever would care for me. I wanted something different for them… something normal. I wanted them to know love, laughter, and to have the opportunity to explore life! They’ve got that… all of it, yet my daughter chooses another path. She has no self-respect and no respect for me. She tries to bargain with the wife, but she lies continuously, and there are other things going on that I won’t get into. She’s extremely anti-social with no friends to speak of, but way too social with boys… none from her school of course because guess what…? Those are good boys… she isn’t interested in those. Though she’s fifteen, her emotional age would probably be comparable to that of a 13 year old. I’m hesitant about allowing her to date at 16 due to things that have come up. I understand I can’t keep her isolated and have no desire to. I just want her to have a friend to do things with… girl things, because at the rate she’s going, she’s going to ruin her life at a very young age and I’m not going to bail her out. She’s been given too many opportunities to make the right choices. With all of this running through my head, I’ve decided to write her a letter. Would love opinions on the content!
I remember tea parties in the yard with popcorn and kool-aide.
I remember a princess bed, pink walls, and "The Little Mermaid" stickers on your closet door.
I remember a cute little girl in daisy overalls and pigtails in her hair for the first time.
I remember trips to the zoo, the museum, Six Flags.
I remember the first dance class, soccer game, basketball game, color guard performance.
Now we have a first dance to add to the list of memories and so many more memories to come.
I’ve been thinking a lot about when you were small. You loved dressing up, painting, swimming, and playing with your friends. Even when you were small, you had so much potential… you still do. There are so many things you’re good at! Your writing is amazing, and your photography skills are something I’m quite envious of.
I’m not really sure where to go with this, but I need you to know that I love you. I love you and I want so much for you. You could have anything you want in the world if only you would make the right choices. I know we talk to you about maturity, but I’m beginning to learn that maturity comes with age… it isn’t something we can force, and it isn’t something you can pretend you have. It takes time. I’ve also come to the realization that it’s incredibly difficult to teach someone how to have self-respect. I don’t know how to do that.
It breaks my heart to see you hurt yourself the way you do. I know you don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, and I have no idea how to show you otherwise. I’m at a loss. At this point, no matter what I do, I’m the bad-guy, and I’m sorry for your feelings on that, but not for setting the rules that form your opinions of me.
You’re a wonderful, amazing child. I am lucky in so many ways, and I don’t take that luck for granted. I hope you see these things in yourself. I hope you know it isn’t too late to turn things around.