Anyone says they were ready to be a parent, smile and walk away. Folks who lie should not be in your tribe. No one is ready to be a parent.
There is simply too much that you cannot control for another human being. As a parent, you never want them to hurt. You know pain. You want laughter, 24/7. You know that’s laughable.
But you do the deed, wait a while, and then welcome the food-consuming, poop-producing being into your life. Everyone is happy!
Look, it rolled over! Look, it can walk! Look — OMG, it said … something!
Then they grow up. All bets are off after that. Walk, talk, toss ’em the car keys and life goes on.
(And yes, from a dad’s perspective, there is a difference between having/raising boys and girls. I tripped my sons just to watch them fall to tell them to rub some dirt on it. Hurt one of my girls, you will beg for death.)
Forty years ago, growing up in small-town America there wasn’t a lot to worry about as far as being snatched off the streets. Today, UNICEF estimates there are around 21 million trafficked people around the world and trafficking generates $32 billion annually.
Yes, there was the cursory tale of an All-American kid who smoked too much dope and derailed his ball career. Today, the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research reports nearly 40% of all 12th-graders surveyed had used some sort of illicit drug in the past year.
Various studies have proved that teens (in particular, males) who watch a lot of hip-hop, rap, heavy metal or hard rock music videos featuring violence acts, sex, and/or substance use, are more likely to behave hostile toward peers, to treat women more aggressively and take aggressive behavior positively in general.
Well, there’s the unholy trinity: sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. As our parents warned: We are doomed …
All the plans we made …
My wife and I have been fortunate. The worst we’ve had to deal with is two wrecked vehicles. Two hours apart on the same day. And neither our children nor anyone else was injured.
Meanwhile, life was what it was — work, friends laughing on the deck, fire pit blazing, more laughter, neighborhood events, and yes — more LOL’ing. (Hey, it’s not a Halloween party until the police and fire departments show up …)
Then things got sideways. Jets 24, Dolphins 6 on Monday Night Football. Phone rings. I’m out the door, sprinting across the cul-de-sac, between houses, in the door. Follow the ambulance to the hospital. … Sitting in the room, a body covered with a sheet — what the hell are you supposed to say to your best friend?
Seven years later, and this time it’s a friend’s daughter. 17. It was her choice. … What the hell are you supposed to say? “Like” a social media post. “Love” another photo. “Thoughts and prayers” sounds hollow when I cannot fathom the pain.
No parent is ready to lose a child.
Did you know:
- On average, there are 129 suicides per day.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- In 2017, there were an estimated 1,300,000 suicide attempts.
- The 2017 age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.0 per 100,000 individuals.
The world can be cruel and unforgiving. Life can be a burden. Just putting one foot in front of the other to get along day by day can be just too damn much.
And if — when! — you stub your toe, it’s OK to say so.
Death is inevitable. I’d rather no one have to deal with it because of choice.
My boy Buble croons this in Hold On:
Maybe all the plans we made might not work out
But I have no doubt even though it’s hard to see
I’ve got faith in us and I believe in you and me
Yeah, it’s a love song. And I love you. If you need to talk it through, gimme a holler. I’d say instead we cry and laugh together than have to do it with you on the other side. Somehow, we’ll work it out.
You are not alone — friends, parents or children.