I was driving into town the other day, thinking about my situation and feeling very sorry for myself. I kept wondering, why me, why us, why is this happening to my family. I was feeling a lot of anger and bitterness because I felt like we had done everything right as parents and made so many sacrifices for our kids, and therefore we did not deserve what was happening. Lately, everywhere I look, there seems to be happy people. I search faces wherever I go, and wonder, are they as happy as they appear to be on the outside? My answer came to me the other day as I was driving into town. I had stopped the car at a red light and looked over at the car next to me. At first glance, it appeared to be a perfectly content family. Nice car, handsome father, car seat with a cherubic toddler safely buckled in. And then I looked at the woman in the passenger seat and realized that she was crying. Fat tears slid down her face as she gazed off into the distance. Pain was etched deeply in her face. I will never know what was causing her such sorrow, but it made me realize that appearances can be very deceiving. We all have sadness, regret, and situations that test us and sometimes break us. I am no more fortunate, nor unfortunate than anybody else. We may have periods where we sail blissfully through life, oblivious to the pain of others, not realizing that our turn will come eventually. No one gets through life unscathed. Bad things happen to good people, and we have to learn to accept our circumstances, one day, one moment at a time.
It's been a difficult few days around these parts. Three nights ago, Justin came home from a party. He drove my father's car home, and when he walked through the front door, I could immediately tell that he was stoned. I took the keys from him and called the cops. He knew that I had called and left home, yelling that he hated me and that he would never be back. I immediately regretted my actions, feeling that I may have driven him away, before he had the opportunity to receive treatment. The cops arrived and took his description. They found him about an hour later at a local teen hangout. He went with them willingly and they had a long chat and then they brought him home. During their conversation, Justin had mentioned that he wanted to become a firefighter. They took pity on him and decided not to press any charges. They carefully explained that a drug charge or a DUI would completely derail any hopes of being hired by the fire department. Part of me was relieved that he was not charged, and then there was the other part of me that realizes that my son always seems to get himself out of trouble without any serious consequences. I know, though, that his luck is running out. In a few short months, he will be considered an adult. If he continues to abuse drugs, he will eventually face charges. I would rather that he faced charges at seventeen then at eighteen, where it will remain on his record. The only good that came out of this was my father promised to never let him use his car again. I could not take the guilt, if my son killed somebody with his recklessness, and my father now understands how foolish he was to trust him. Since that night, the tension in our home has been thick. Justin is angry at me for calling the cops. I know that someday, he will understand and forgive me.