Friday, June 19

motherhood is beautiful

and hard and, often, way over

my head. especially when it

comes to tough love.

one of my sons lives in a city

close by. he is handsome, brilliant.

can talk to anyone, and write circles

around me.

but living skills?

keeping his word?

meaning to, but doing it is

another story altogether.

i drove to where he lives

ten days ago because he was

needing a bicycle. his walking

to work, two hours a day, demoralized

me, to say nothing of him.

so, i picked him up.

took him to o'brien's market

for his favorite, tri-tip sandwich,

and headed to walmart to check out


mom! i have a great idea!

we could use your bank card,

and get me clear-wire service for

my computer. it's only $29 a mo! goes up to $44 after three


BUT, mom, i have a job, and i

could pay you every month. like,

today is wednesday, and i get paid

friday. i'll give you the first month then.

for a brief moment,

my brain decided to sit on a shelf

somewhere, and i went along

with him. we bounded into the

clearwire store. i asked if we had time

to test it and return it. yes, one week.''

i laid my card on the counter, and we

walked out. tall and proud. i had the happiest

son in the world.

well, friday came, and i called about my

first payment. our agreement. his words

began to slide through me with a chill. a

dark realization. this utterly-amazing son

of mine, finding it hard to navigate life. not

doing what he said he wiould do, had just

displayed his life-worn behavior.

darling. you are an adult.

do NOT tell me you will do something

if you aren't. a person's word is his

character. shapes the form of his life

journey. establishes trust or negates



i bought $50 wowrth of minutes for my phone

so you can always reach me.

AND,MOM, i was so lonely.

so down. so i took a nice girl

(you would REALLY like her!)

on a date.


the first month, and you already

have failed on your word.

i walked around for two days.

disgusted with myself. my son

does not drink or smoke or do drugs.

his addiction is a specific game online.

i knew better.

again, in a subtle moment of weakness,

(after all, we, as a family, had been through

the wilderness and the flood), i had created

a mess for myself.

and i knew

i'd face hell for

my decision.

day seven arrived.

i drove to where my son

lives, and knocked on the door.

i asked him for the clearwire box

and chords. within moments,

i was scorched by the heat of

rage spewing everywhere.

you are not worthy to be a mother.

you are worse than my worst girlfriend.

ouch! his girlfriends are the bottom-of-the-list girls.

i don't ever want to see you again.

i am going to change my last name.

i am no longer in this family, and i don't

want to EVER again be your son!!

i'll leave out the most choice words.

nasty, and outside my vocabulary.

listen, honey, i know i've not been perfect.

i know i've failed you. will you forgive me?


well, no matter what,

i'm taking the box back to

the store. of you can't keep

your word the first month,

there's no question i can't depend

on it.

finally, i quietly walked next door

to the woman in charge of the program.

with young people, 18-21, chosen.

to teach life skills. free counselling. etc.

i needed support. i meant business, and

every single second of this scenario was

excruciating. if i wilted now, all the

tough love i'd doled out for the last 8 mos.

would go down the tube.

i'm a lover. let's be happy.

for the first time, ever, i had

stuck to my guns. unbending

to the schrewed manipulation.

the director

walked out with the box.

i cried, and thanked her for ALL

she was doing for my son.

ann, give him time. it'll be okay.

it sure didn't feel okay.

as i was almost to the freeway

for home, my son called. sobbing.

please don't get on the freeway, yet.

i didn't mean all those horrible things i

said, mom. you and i are close. right?!

i know i'm the black sheep in the family, but...

you are NOT the black sheep in our family.

not for one single second has that thought EVER

entered my mind. i'm so proud to be your mom.

i utterly believe in you. you are my son with

a calling on his life.

i drove back to where he lived.

we stopped and bought two of his

favorite dvd's he could watch on

his computer, and some groceries.

if we don't learn to stand

by our word growing up, then we

are adults still playing the same games.

still manipulating. we become grown-ups,

doing the same games, but more polished.

smoother. easier to dress ourselves in ways

not noticed at a glance.

i wish every morning had a clean,

summer sky. but they don't. some

days the wind swirls. thunder roars. people

have foul moods.

that is what the Redeemer, the Savior,

is all about. redemption. cleansing of

the carnality we are born with.

tough love.

it is not pretty.

but it is the foundation

of our destinies. we owe

it to our children to live through

the the other

God can depend on us to be

His disciples. His world-changers.

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