Have you ever had anything happen to you that knocked you onto your knees? That took your breath away, changed your life and made you question any and everything you ever believed to be true? And the worst part of this thing is that it made you question yourself or your own abilities?
It has been 11 years since I began having the above experiences and repeating them periodically. When I had a whole house full of little ones I felt pretty darn sure of myself and my parenting abilities. When my oldest turned 18 he went down on his birthday and enlisted for six years in the Airforce!
We were on a family vacation in Idaho and he told me this over the phone. Wham, blow numero uno! I could not believe that this, my firstborn perfect child was going against everything we had ever taught him and going into the Airforce.
Once we got over the shock we adjusted and even got excited for him and the growth he could experience in the military. We were hopeful that he would take advantage of the educational opportunities and the other benefits of the military. His dad had done 8 years and we had used the housing as well as educational benefits.
One year later he was given a general discharge under honorable conditions. Our son came home an alcoholic as well as a drug addict. He did not exactly take advantage of the things we had hoped he would when he went in. And needlesss to say at this point hubby and I were beating ourselves up pretty darn good.
For 10 years we watched this son struggle in his life. We watched him marry and have three daughters, and take them down his road with him Finally three years ago he sobered up. After 10 years he quit drinking and has been sober for two and a half years.
You know what the funny part is? As parents we don't take an ounce of credit for his ability to make this changes in his life. Why is it that we only beat ourselves up when they make mistakes, and take none of the credit when they are able to have the strength to clean up their lives? Human nature I would guess.