Lat week my teen got into trouble - that kinda trouble that you hear other people's children's parents talking about when they are talking other people's children. We didn't wait for him to come home, we called him out at his school. We, admittedly more his mother than I, let him have it in spectacular, old school fashion. Should he ever have kids he now has a story to officially tell them.
Although I spent the rest of the day fantasizing about putting him out I was surprised when I got in late with my daughter and saw no signs of him having come home to go to practice (his usual routine). I began to wonder, but not fear.
My next thought was that he was out with his mother who was coming in later than me from an event. No such luck. As soon as I told her she was instantly and rightfully a panicked mother. Now I was managing her fears and my growing ones. But I refused to give in, presenting a calm I know irked her (my wife) just a bit. When I finally caught up with him he told me he didn't deserve to come home and I told him, not so. I told him our love for him cannot be diminished by his actions and no amount of shame should ever cause him to disown himself. And yes he was still in trouble. I told him there was Lo Mein waiting for him when he got in. And between his mother and I, we reassured him that home was in fact that - Home. He eventually left a friend's home and came Home. We acknowledged his presence. He ate his food and went to his room. I hugged my wife to make sure she was okay and she cried in my arms. She was okay. And don't think for a second any of the night's activities somehow reduced the punishment that awaits the teen. But it was necessary to pause for that day.
During occasional talks with my daughter I've reinforced in her the understanding that there is nothing she can do to separate herself from my love. But sometimes I do wonder how much wrong a person can do to lose the love of a parent. I pray that day never comes for me (nor do I anticipate it) or any other parent I know.
Parents, tell and show 'em you love 'em everyday even when you have to get tough.
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