Recently I sat down to watch a Lifetime movie involving two young girls -- one who frequently made careless mistakes (she had the more chill mama) and the other who had a good head on her shoulders (she had the more stern mama). During one wild night, they both made the wrong mistake that ended in unfortunate events. Then the next day, I saw a true story of a young teen who took one hit of a new synthetic drug that cost him his life. I suppose the combination of reading and watching both of these in about a 24 hour time span left a lump in my throat for a little while that most mothers would have after seeing such events.
So I sat and wondered...
Will I be a good mother to teach my children how to make the right decisions? Can I protect them from careless mistakes that could cost them or someone else their life? We're all destined to make mistakes and learn from them no matter how amazing our parents are; it's just that unfortunately these mistakes sometimes lead to unfortunate outcomes. Outcomes that can rip a mother's heart to shreds. And that's what scares the absolute poop out of me.
When I look back at my teen and early adult years, there's really no scenarios that stand out at being a bad decision that could have really harmed me other than jumping out of a really, reallytall tree into the river for $20 (they put a life jacket on me). And yes, I did it to impress my now husband when his cousin bet everyone around us and everyone declined, so I did it. And now I look back and think about how stupid it was.
But drugs, getting into cars with people who have been drinking or sneaking out to hang out with people I hardly knew wasn't me. Heck the one time a group of us college girls ended up hanging out at a place with guys I didn't know and I was the one begging to go and finally saying we had to leave. Sure I was paranoid at times and maybe freaked out too much about little things, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Obviously somewhere along the line my parents did something right to make me aware of my surroundings and to have fun without making decisions that could harm me or others. I always listened to that little voice in my head.
Will my daughters do the same?
So how will I know what to do? How will I know how to handle each and every situation that presents itself to me as my daughters grow up? How can any of us ensure that we are doing things right to protect our children while still giving them their space to learn and grow up and of course, to make their own mistakes?
I honestly don't know the answer to any of these questions. I fear for the future of my children because I know that despite however good of a mother I think I will be, that temptation will always be there and that sadly our world will continue to become even more tainted with sex, rape, drugs, violence, etc... Our world is a beautiful place, but we all know darkness can lurk within the shadows. We all read the true stories that have unhappy endings.
There are moments where I wish I could just build us a little castle (complete with a moat) to protect my children and keep them close to me. Then I'll know that they'll be safe and sound; but that's not realistic is it now? Being a mother (or a parent in general) has to be by far the scariest job around. We disguise our fears and worries, but Lord knows we have them. We give life to these precious souls who consume our every heartbeat and we just want to protect them. We just want to do a damn good job. We long to see our children grow up and become the rock stars, doctors, lawyers and teachers that they are meant to be. Watching your children and your children's children grow up and leading happy, wonderful lives has to be the reward at the end of all of those years of parenting (and worry).
So I honestly have no clue as to how I'll succeed as a mother. Will I succeed? I'm sure I will. Just like I'm sure the person reading this will or has. And even if my children make massive mistakes, it doesn't necessarily mean that I didn't succeed. Things are bound to happen no matter how good of parent we all think we are or were. We can only do our best when it comes to teaching our children and we can only hope and pray that our lessons stick with them (you know, like the little annoying voice in your head that sounds like your mother's voice that says you shouldn't hop in the car with the cute guy you just met at the bar). Yes, we can only hope that those voices stick in our children's heads and that they listen.
We can only hope.
We can only pray.
But most of all, we can just love and teach.
And love no matter what.