The blue board…

I sit, almost paralyzed, as I watch my youngest daughter make decision after decision that only takes her farther and farther down a path akin to self destruction. Naturally, at just fifteen years old, this is all in the name of some high school “friends”. She made the decision long before she even entered through that big metal door, back in September, that the kids she met would be the suns her world would orbit. We, her parents, saw the scary potential in that. This sweet, tender hearted, compassionate and impressionable freshman girl was ready to live for whomever gave her the time of day and agreed to fill that fantasy shaped hole within her.

Over the months, since September, a few of these kids have changed a little. We’ve also seen that not all of her choices have been bad ones. She’s not a bad girl, but she has been willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of a few minutes being connected to popularity, no matter the cost. Fortunately, to my knowledge the cost hasn’t been grave. Yet. Of course, as with all school aged stuff, the drama is strong and nauseating.

Sadly, my husband and I stand on this threshold of our lives now and realize the end result we feared is upon us. While she isn’t pregnant, or a drug addict, or anything severely as blatant as that, she has traveled far down a negative path and has made it clear that her “friends” are the only people she cares about, and obviously they are the only ones who care about her… (Now, these friends do fit within those categories, sadly)

We’ve tried to talk to her. We’ve spoken in illustration, metaphor, love, reward, discipline, consequence and any other language we could dream up- but it became clear that to our audience we may as well have been Charlie Brown parents, Wah- Wah- Wahing our way through desperately trying to reason with a child who is sadly cast in the part of her own worst enemy.

The last real conversation we had about this, prior to leaving for vacation, was that in a heartbeat she would choose her “friends” over us. I wanted so badly for her to understand what happens with those high school friendships most of the time…

My freshman and sophomore reality was that I had friends which my own world also revolved around, in a deeply intimate and tragic way. Unlike her tale, I did not have a family in my corner, nor did the majority of my friends, and so we sort of became that for each other. It was often destructive and unhealthy, but it met needs, soothed the soul and made us feel tethered where nothing else did. I had shoe boxes filled to the brim with heavy on emotion, co-dependent notes and drawings. I often made my own reckless and self destructive decisions to please these people who were my everything. In the end, my experience may not be so different to other freshman/sophomore years.

At one point, {I don’t remember why} All of my friends wrote notes and sketches to me on this giant piece of uncut blue matting. Even as friendships changed and my then-boyfriend and I eventually broke up, that board become this sort of totem for me. Regardless of where I was, or what was happening in life, it somehow symbolized that I did have some worth and a place in this world. Even as I maneuvered through adulthood, the majority of those friendships long gone, the blue board remained pristine and unscarred. Should a corner get bent or nicked, I’d be devastated.

In time, the Blue Board’s power over me faded some but it still held some magic, well into my thirties. Then, the blue “wall” of Facebook emerged and faces behind those words and signatures friended me. At first it was this amazing exercise, but with it eventually came a lot of silly drama and petty childishness that I realized my life had no place (or interest) for. The very first time I saw the effects of this bleed into my family life, specifically my marriage, it was a no-brain decision to unfriend a whole bunch of people and accept the fact that I was an adult, and happy to be one.

The funny thing was, about a year and a half later, when we packed up our house to move across the country, I stumbled across that blue board in my attic. Would you believe seeing it brought a small smile to my lips, a slice of gratitude to my heart that I’d had some love in my youth, and then I myself folded that giant thing into a small square and packed it in my memorabilia box.

I hope someday she’ll see on her own that she is worth more than what some kids who only seem to want to encourage and bring out the worst in her, believe she is worth. I hope somehow she will begin to realize the bigger picture beyond the “fun” of the right now bad decisions before it further negatively affects her future. In the meantime, whether she likes it or not, I’ll keep on believing in her, loving her, and wah-wah-wahing until my face turns blue too.

18 thoughts on “The blue board…

  1. Precious :) I sure feel your pain. Living life with teens who make decisions that resemble my own past, makes me cry.

    1. thanks… and I’m grateful that nothing major has happened. I really am. But I’m also not going to just stick my head in the sand. This is the same road where major things occur. Prayers are APPRECIATED! Thanks!

  2. Ugh! I was so that girl….I still would be but by the grace of God, I made it out and into adulthood. I know you love her….keep on. She will need you to fall back on when things start to fall apart. they will fall apart. That’s what happens to these relationships that come with conditions of acting and being to people rather than loving God first. Praying for you as you parent her and love her.

    1. I can’t tell you HOW GRATEFUL I am that you are! I believe that too, I do. But my mom-heart so worries about the pain in her journey between the here and there.

      1. I don’t think it’s possible to be a loving mother and not want to protect our kids from the hurts that are rolling their way at the speed of a freight train. Hang in there. One day she will break free from this trap of ridiculousness and remember that you were always there for her.

    1. Oh man! Did you hear what happened with my HS BFF on FB??? Nightmare of a story. I was so traumatized by the whole thing, that I literally deleted EVERYONE from high school.

  3. I don’t know your situation exactly, but I remember the hell I put my own poor mother through. It’s hard work separating yourself from parents and creating your identity – and it can feel like the only people who get that are your friends. Even harder when your parents love you and worry about you and want the best for you. Such a big learning curve. This momma stuff is hard work.

    1. It is… I think, (for her) it’s more that she went to high school with this fantasy idea of what HS would be like. Like it is for Disney Channel shows, and in books and movies… and so she is trying to create that, at all costs.

  4. I remember a not so distant past where I said, out loud, to Matt that I would never survive the kids being toddler. It was the worst season of my life. And then, we hit teen-dom. These past few months have been the hardest I have ever seen and all I can see is flashbacks to me as a teenager. It is a completely different ball game and one, as I just told Matt the other day, I’m not sure I will survive. I’m in the trenches with you…..

  5. Oh, how I understand! My parental boat is running over. The lure of hanging out with friends past curfew, not calling, and being 4 hours late. Then having those same friends pick her up the next day to go to the movies without calling us because she knew she was grounded. If our daughters only knew how much we understand, love and just want to help them through these teenage years. Our rules may seem stupid, but we are just trying to keep them safe.

    My youngest found a box of my high school mementos. Not too much drama, but the memories that came flooding back. Yes, I was young once. Yes, you are in my prayers! So are your sweet hubby and beautiful girl. Hugs!

    1. I have to think that’s one of the reasons why we it is so important to keep them safe… both them in body and their fragile hearts. We remember what it was like. We FAR FROM over protect her, but because we are being compared to parents who do not parent their kids AT ALL, we just won’t ever win, I guess… I just hope and pray our kids don’t lose biggest, in the long run. I’m sorry, my friend!

  6. The teen years are such a balancing act. It is difficult as a parent to watch your kids go through all the trials and tribulations and KNOW full well how it might end. Sending you good thoughts. I know you’ll do your best to steer her in the right direction. Eventually THEY do listen to us. Eventually.

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