I just spent the morning somewhere I never envisioned I would be. Court. Juvenile court for my unruly child. Even as I type the words, the whole scenario seems surreal. It still feels like a really bad dream. It’s funny to me, the way I perceive myself and what is accurate don’t always seem to align. I guess that realization is what humble pie tastes like. It’s actually not as awful as I would have suspected – humble pie, that is. It goes down kind of roughly, but once you’ve eaten it, like with broccoli, you can feel that satisfaction of doing something that was good for you.
I’ve always prided myself on being a good parent. And, if effort is what we are judging on, I have indeed succeeded. I left my job to stay at home with my children and have been involved in every area of their lives since infancy. Basically over a decade of my life can be summed up as an outpouring into their lives. Somehow, I thought if I tried hard enough, I would have a cookie-cutter mold perfect child. You know the kind, the one who says, “Yes, Sir” and hold the door for old ladies and is just downright perfect in every way.
I would look down my nose at anyone who had a rebellious teen. Because, in my mind, any rebellious child was a direct result of poor parenting. The parent must not have been strict enough or taken their child to church or spent enough time with them. Like baking a cake, if you put all the right ingredients in you would be rewarded with a yummy cake. Mess up one of the ingredients and the cake would obviously flop. I was forgetting that children have wills of their own and can make choices independent of what you desire. How I wish I could take back the judging comments that rattled around in my head before I had teenagers.
I’m now realizing raising children may still be like baking a cake but there are more pieces to the puzzle than just the ingredients. The cake still needs to be baked and that is the area my teen has complete control over and I am realizing, I have none. He is not a robot, but a intelligent, thinking individual.
My boy, he’s going to be ok. He’s going to be more than ok. These hiccups in the road will shape him and make him into the person he is meant to be become. These don’t define me as a parent, nor do they define him as a person. It’s just part of the process. I’ve done my best to give him all the ingredients he needs for life. I’m here now to guide him as he walks his path. In the baking process, the cook doesn’t mess too much with the cake. Rather, he lets the heat of the oven turn a gooey mess into the cake it was meant to be. The mixing, measuring and stirring parts of parenting are behind me now. Now it’s time for me to keep a close eye on the cake as those ingredients turn into what they were meant to be.