Expectation vs Preparation
By: Jenn M.
I wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I carry an umbrella and even a reflective cone in my car “just in case.” I don’t expect that I’ll need it every time I have it. I just make sure that I’m prepared shall I need to be. I can’t really say I go through life thinking about when the next time I’ll need my seat belt, umbrella, or emergency road gear.
I don’t go through life expecting things to go awry. I’ve been struggling with running off and on since the marathon. Streaking helped for a while. That is, until I got sick and things started to just deteriorate noticeably in my life.
The usual wave of depression came over me as the colder weather settled in and outdoor enjoyment became more limited. I hadn’t been finding joy in many of the things I normally would. I started feeling more and more isolated and in turn, began to isolate myself. I’ve often felt that it insulated me from the blows of other people and their negative opinions of me. That was just what was happening internally.
I’m a mom. I have 3 kids and they are 17, 7, and (almost) 6. My 17-year-old has always been a challenge and I’ve often felt the weight of that challenge on my heart. We’ve had our moments where her good and moral self shines through. Often, we’ve seen the part of her that does things that are dishonest, sneaky, and not in line with the values of our family. While we were giving her more individual freedom, she was taking that and using it to connect with people who didn’t care for her well-being. We had multiple encounters with police and even had her run away from home a couple of times. This has all been going on over the course of the last month. Much of it has spilled over to the point that many people around us are aware of the situation and the details. She’s finally getting help, but this is also a long and bumpy road in itself. The rest of life doesn’t stop to help correct one difficulty. It just keeps going on and all of it just keeps coming. I still have other kids to care for with my husband. My husband and I still have to take care of each other. We both have responsibilities that haven’t lessened as our piles get bigger.
My younger two kids have been impacted by all of this. My son has let us know that he doesn’t want to leave home. He assumed that her absence was our doing as a result of her misbehavior they’d frequently witnessed over the last year. My younger daughter has complained about not liking school and used some techniques similar to the older daughter when trying to get her way. She once threatened that if made to get ready for bed without watching TV as she’d wanted, that she wouldn’t go to school the next day.
I was never expecting things to become so difficult and so challenging. I’d always thought that I was prepared for the worst case, though. If I’d lived my life constantly expecting her to blow up in my face, it still would have happened. I just would have gotten in my own way in feeling the joys of the moments between. The moments when all three of my kids were playing together or watching a movie at the same time would have been filled with the anticipation that something would go awry.
I’m prepared to continue to love all of my children unconditionally. I’m also prepared for tough love when needed. I expect bumps in the road, but I’m not going to say that I either expect things to rapidly change or to stay the same. I simply must be prepared either way while not dwelling on the possibilities.
I find it absolutely heart breaking that there are people out there willing to exploit this situation to put me down or to make themselves feel superior. This is my journey and you are not on it.
My daughter has her own journey and her own heart to deal with and I can only hope that she uses some of the will she has in her to do well for herself in life. Each of my kids will blaze his or her own trail and I’m here for a short time to do what I can.
My chalkboard quote for now is simple, but encompasses all of 1 Corinthians 13 from the bible: