I’m sitting at a coffee shop across the street from my therapist’s office, waiting to go over there in about a half an hour. I go every two weeks. Nothing quite shows me how full my life is of all sorts of activities and drama like having therapy every couple weeks.
Before I go I have to try and think through all that has happened in the last two weeks so I don’t waste that time in therapy. And there’s always so much. What do I even choose to talk about?
The end of the school year is an emotional time. One of our girls graduated high school a little over a week ago. The night before graduation I gave her a heartfelt nine page letter that I had written for her with thoughts and insights and wisdom. (Much of which I have learned from Fred Rogers). She took the letter and immediately went into another room to read it.
She came running to me after she had read it and gave me a huge hug, sobbing into my shoulder. It was a touching moment, for sure. A meaningful one.
But about 24 hours later she left our home, once again with hugs and tears. But she left with plans of going out with a couple of her friends, their boyfriends, and her own boyfriend, a boy that we had tried to keep her away from during the school year. Someone she knows that my wife and I most definitely do not approve of her being with.
It’s hard to know how to handle that sort of situation. The seeming gratefulness, respect and appreciation that she showed us for taking care of her, for loving her, for pouring our lives into her, and then flat out doing something she knows we’d strongly disapprove of.
It’s the juxtaposition of the two (or more) faces of these teenagers that is hard to work with. We’ve had to learn to not take it personally, and to expect that this is usually how it is.
Does it change how we care and love for them?
No. We do it anyway. And we’ll be here when she stumbles, falls, or fails and needs to be picked up again.