A little gift from God
Recently, as I was checking out at the grocery store, I was given a little gift from above.
Now, I’ve gone to this particular grocery store consistently for almost a decade. Over that period of time, even though I’m introverted, I’ve gotten to know DJ, one of the workers there, and he has gotten to know me and my youngest son, Dylan (who used to always go shopping with me).
Over the years DJ has learned about what Dylan liked in school, and what he didn’t like. DJ would always ask about Dylan’s wrestling and swimming and scouting. DJ felt bad when Dylan broke his collar bone (both times!) and was happy for Dylan when the healing was complete. Even though I only see DJ a couple of times a month (at most), I always enjoy our interactions and it makes shopping (something I actually don’t like doing) a little more pleasant.
As Dylan got older he didn’t always go grocery shopping with me, but whenever I saw DJ he would ask about Dylan, always curious to know what Dylan was up to and how he was doing. I’ve always appreciated when other adults are genuinely interested in my boys and it’s fun to talk about the great things they’re doing and have others be happy with us.
But last week, as I was scanning my groceries, I saw DJ heading my way. I hadn’t actually seen him for a while and I knew he would ask about Dylan. To be completely honest, I wasn’t excited for this conversation because Dylan has been living his life contrary to how he’s been raised. While I’m not embarrassed or ashamed (I decided to give those emotions up in parenting a long time ago), I am disappointed. I also have a hard time pretending things are wonderful when they’re not. And I don’t like talking about the negative things people are doing. So, what’s a mom to do?!?
I decided to be honest. And while I didn’t go into all the nitty-gritty details, DJ understood the angst I felt. And then came the gift:
DJ told me his oldest son had done a similar thing in his late teens, but, “You would never know it now. He’s definitely not that person anymore, so don’t give up hope.”
A tear may or may not have appeared.
Of course, DJ has no way of knowing who Dylan will be in ten years, but… neither do I. He could be even further away from the way he’s been taught to live… or not. However, this short, simple encounter was a reminder to me that while I cannot force my son to live the way I want him to, there’s no guarantee that this will all end badly. I was also reminded that other people see goodness in my son even when it’s sometimes covered up with less-than-desirable choices and behavior.
I truly have learned to not hand my emotional well-being over to others ~ especially my son! But I still appreciate little reminders that it’s OK to look for the good and hope for the best even when I’m not sure how things will all work out.
You can, too! And if you’d ever like to chat about your own parenting situation, I’m here for you ~ firstname.lastname@example.org.