Remember that one time my 14yo got so upset he stormed out of the house at 10pm with out telling anyone where he was going, and we called a search party of parents, youth pastor Sean, leader Alberto and big brother Ern while his other siblings shed crocodile tears? Oh wait-that was last night!
And shall forever be known as: "That one time Sam ran away...to Target!!!"
Yes. That happened. He's seems to be the most melo-dramatic one of the four, so far. Sigh. This sweet, funny, emotional, fourteen year old man-child. Bird was so upset. It completely triggered a feeling of abandonment in her. "How could he just leave!?! How could he leave me? He's my best friend. I go to him for everything, the one I can talk to!"
Ern, oldest, had circled the neighborhood a few times and was unable to locate him. He suggested I let youth Pastor Sean know and he was kind enough to come over to help search. I felt obligated to call the Mr. I didn't want to, honestly, for fear it would in some way, be used against me. I put my personal hesitations aside and called him, out of respect as his father, at least. He joined the search to find him.
I noticed I had received a cryptic and dramatic text from the boy...indicating he was someplace with free wifi since he does not have a cell phone, only an Ipod. The Mr. found him at Target and promptly brought him home. The 14yo told me later, he was just wandering the toy aisles, looking at all the toys.
What a perfect picture for a 14 year old, caught within the frustration between boyhood and manhood. Wanting to be independent but required to submit to the daily rigors of schoolwork, chores and mom.
I, of course, felt like a complete failure. I'm doing this alone. Even after all this time, it shocks me sometimes, the responsibility of parenting alone. I don't know what the right thing to do or respond always is. Should I have not chased after him and simply expected he'd come home when he was hungry or cold or at least when Target closed? Did that just feed into his pity party? Should I have gone easier on him in the first place when I was reprimanding him before he stormed out? Is he just doing this to be dramatic and get attention or is he really feeling unloved, neglected and abandoned too?
I don't know the answers to these questions but the questions themselves, weigh heavy on me, daily. It's ALL on me. I'm the one making the parenting decisions. I'm the one meting out consequences, ultimatums, making the decision to ground someone or not. I'm the one having to decide when to exert an extra measure of grace or push a little harder.
And sometimes, I don't want to do it anymore. I just want to have FUN! I want everyone to be happy and carefree. I want to ditch the rules and responsibilities too. I'm tired of having to choose if situations warrant me playing good cop or bad cop that day. I don't want to be any cop. I don't want to feel stressed and overwhelmed. I'm tired of worrying about feeling I'll get blamed for everything if I make a wrong decision.
I'm tired of trying to teach my sons how to be honorable and respectable men of integrity. I'm tired of trying to teach my daughter what to look for in a man, what a respectable, honorable man of integrity looks like...just by my words and warnings, with out a living example for myself, to SHOW them!!!
Don't get me wrong, we know men of integrity. But there is a huge difference between knowing someone and having a daily, living and breathing man in the home, teaching by example. I like to think I have it all together and my kids will turn out just fine--like the Mr. insists. Moments like last night though, make it glaringly obvious that everything is NOT ok. I do NOT have it all together. My children DO have wounded hearts and sometimes is shows.
The only saving grace I can give myself...is my trust in God. That He is caring for all of us, come what may. He hears my prayers and the cries of my heart. I know all hope is not lost and our life is pretty great, considering. But these moments...aaahhhh...they challenge hope for sure. So for now, I make light and poke fun at the ridiculousness of my 14yo running away...to Target!