It was my Mom who pointed out the irony last week, during an emergency mid-week telephone conference Wednesday afternoon. In Monday’s post, I made a comparison – life with kids is like riding a roller coaster. I was pretty excited about it…until Tuesday afternoon when the seat dropped out from beneath me and everything sped out of control. When I crawled into bed that night, still physically and mentally shaken, I knew an onslaught of nightmarish what-ifs waited for me. A week later, I’m still fighting to hold them at bay.
I can’t say a lot – part of my way of staying sane. But I can say this – if you’re a parent, talk to your kids. Even if you already have. Even if they appear to have it all together. Even if they roll their eyes at you. Again.
I know we want to protect our children from bad things and bad people. But we also have to prepare them, because bad things happen on the walk to school. Bad people lurk in your neighbourhood. Decisions have to be made when there isn’t time to think through the options or the consequences. If we lived in an ideal world, we could let them be carefree kids longer, but we don’t live in an ideal world.
January, it seems, has been a series of roller coaster rides with Little Guy, and with each ride, has come a series of conversations.
We’ve talked about depression and suicide – how to support your friends and how to advocate on their behalf. Someone I told this to commented that “he’s only in Grade 6”. When I was in Grade 6, I noticed a girl by herself at recess. I sensed I should talk to her, but I was shy. I did it anyway and she became my best friend. Two years later, she told me how she had planned to kill herself that week. Every detail was in place. So yeah…he’s in Grade 6, but we started this conversation years ago. We’ve also talked how to ask for help should he ever feel overwhelmed or hopeless.
We’ve talked about peer pressure – how to recognize it and how to handle it. It may be skipping class now, but one day it will be sex, drugs and things that could rock his world. And not in a good way!
We’ve talked about secrets – what’s ok and what’s not ok. We’ve talked about what to do and who to talk to if someone is hurting him, or someone he loves. We’ve talked about bullies and strangers, and people who aren’t strangers but may be acting strange.
We’ve talked about how hard it can be to become an “adult”. We faced some of the same challenges and we didn’t always have great success. As parents, as people, we’re far from perfect and we freely admit it. But we’ve have a little experience under our rapidly expanding belts!
“Adulthood is like looking both ways before you cross the street,
and then getting hit by an airplane.” – Anonymous
Most importantly, we talked about how much we love him. We let him know that he is never truly alone. We may not always approve of his choices, but we will always affirm him. And I think of all the conversations we’ve had, this one is the one that will keep him safe.
This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or “mwa ha ha” moments.