Monday, April 21, 2008

Releasing the boy and seeing the man

This Monday morning, I kept looking at my phone. Several times, I had a strong desire to call my friend and ask, "Did B get to the recovery center today?" But, I need to remind myself that I need to let my son learn how to become a man-- that he needs to learn to manage his life on his own.Today's devotional, led me to this verse:

1 Corinthians 13:11 (New International Version)

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Now that I understand that B's addiction is a genetic "flaw", I need to focus on how my son's addiction has been "enabled". I'm guilty of this, as is his father.

It's easy for someone to look from the outside of our family dynamics and to judge how B has been coddled, spoiled, enabled and a multitude of labels I've had thrown at me. One time, someone I thought was my friend, decided that it was her divine duty to tell me all that I had done wrong in raising my son. It was hard for me to find value in her wisdom, since she's never been a parent. I was both hurt and offended. She has her own issues, so I couldn't help thinking:

Matthew 7:3 (New International Version)

3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

It is very hard to distinguish between a mother's need to love, nurture and protect our children--versus stepping back and letting our kids suffer their own consequences for the choices they've made. God wired moms to have a natural need to soothe our child's hurts. We don't want out kids to suffer, in any way. There have been times when my son's pleading and guilty buttons he's pushed made me cave in and do my son's will.

During a counseling session with my son, B angrily said to me "a year ago, you stopped being a mom". I was taken aback-- speechless, actually. My first reaction was "I could never stop being a mom!" Later, that day... the lightbulb went on. Aha! I think he meant that I stopped spending money on him. Yes, I did. My son had reached the age of 19, had dropped out of college and didn't have a job. Just this weekend, B finally confirmed, that this is the time he started using again, after being clean for 8 months. I suspected that drugs were the reason that he wasn't motivated. Finally, I told him that he could not longer live in my home, under those circumstances. It was hard for me to tell my son to move out. He moved in with his father, almost a year ago. I missed him, terribly--and, at times, I still do.

It's painful to say no. My head knows that "no" is my first babystep to helping my son to grow up and learn to be a man. But my heart tugs at me that "no" is rejection to my son. It's a vicious cycle that can play out in my head and my heart. I realize that part of my co-dependent relationship my son is this loop that leads nowhere. I have to work on this and to be prepared that my son might lash out at this. It's part of my wanting to help him. I know that I'm doing what's best, but it's not easy.

It's hard enough for our teenage/young adult kids to afford to live in this country. We, as adults with regular jobs, are struggling to keep up with the price of gas, groceries and housing. I fear for my son who has this challenge, plus being able to deal with the possibility that neither one of his parents can or will take him in to live with us.

I need prayer and wisdom on this. This is weighing heavily on my heart, today.


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