Thirteen days in February

Sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? Well, let me assure you what lies beneath the title is most certainly the stuff movies should be made of.
And the movie (should I choose to make one) would reveal the series of unfortunate events that occur when living with teenagers. It would be strictly used for education of new parents, married couples in trouble, or shown at a wedding as payback.
In all of my live-long days, I have never had a greater struggle with parenting than I did during 13 days in February.
I wrestled with the guts of this column for days. I wondered what is it that you, the reader, enjoys? Is it the humour or the truth, or a little of both.
Heaven knows my column is usually dipped in them.
Sure, my life is funny a lot of the time, but sometimes it really stinks. And today, there’s no getting around it.
I’ve been a parent for almost 20 years and I’ve tried my best, although there were—and are still—times when I’m not sure my best is good enough.
This past weekend, I wanted with all my might to disappear into the Rocky Mountains with a goat and packsack. Leave everyone behind, wash my hands of all teenagers, never to be heard from in parenting or married circles again.
We’d had a run-in with a teenager in our home who misrepresented themselves in such a way that it bucked rodeo-style at the foundation of everything good and true. It was, in my view, the most damaging chapter in my life as a parent and as a person.
Worse than my not-so-nice divorce from my first husband, and markedly worse than when I lost the fight to keep my oldest child from leaving home at 14 six years ago.
I was reminded during 13 days in February just how fragile I am. This strong-willed gal found herself questioning her purpose as a parent and as a contributing partner.
I’m still not certain what lies ahead. Time will tell, and hopefully heal the hurt on many levels. I hope at least one teenager will learn that honesty really is the best policy. I hope I will learn to have faith again.
All I know for sure is that in my next life, I want to be a dog or a tree.
Right now, my days are quiet and introspective and not so full of fun as I would like, but my optimism is still there beside me.
If there is anything positive in my mind at this moment, it is this. When I was growing up, I was given all the love a child could hope for. I was never spoiled (though sometimes I wished I was).
I was taught to respect my elders, and that truth and honesty were everything.
I also had the gift of advocacy from my parents in all life adventures or challenges I bit into—or that tried to take a bite out of me.
To this day, their unwavering support is still the backbone of my life.

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