August 02, 2009

The End is the Beginning

It's been a difficult day here. I spent an hour on the phone with the daughter who doesn't understand why her father felt the need to ask that she not argue with her brother in the car today. She was insulted and proceeded to argue. Youth always thinks arguing will change the minds of their parents, don't they? Suffice it to say, she was un-invited from joining her father to pick up her brother.

We are struggling right now with adult children (if you can call 19 and 21 adults) who wish to live their lives according to their wants, but who also call us to help them with meeting their needs. How do you support adult children without actually giving them support? Rob and I are trying to lives that embody our Christian beliefs. Trying to love those around us, trying to give over the momentary troubles of today to God in order to focus on the race before us, trying to make right choices on a moment by moment basis. Some days are harder than others and so it is today.

Today brought home to me how much their respect for us and our choices feels like lip service given by them. The expectation of respect for their choices also comes with the expectation we will still provide money when they need it. We are a private lending institution with the names of Dad and Gina.

Don't get me wrong, they love their father. They don't forget Father's Day, they call him on his birthday, and try to give some thought to Christmas gifts for him. But they don't understand they pain they cause him, the grief he has over their choices, his difficulty in sharing his thoughts about their choices.

And, we are so tired. Tired of being taken for granted, tired of being argued with, being told our values, way of thinking, personalities and thought processes are "stupid." Tired of being forgotten (that one is me - no regular Mother's day or birthday greetings for this stepmom). Tired of putting our own financial needs to the side. And you know it's time for a change when you realize you are giving more than a passing thought to moving and not leaving a forwarding address.

We are going to be grandparents. Our son is in a struggling relationship and now she's pregnant. He's determined to be in the child's life, but they have a difficult road ahead of them. They are not married, but living together, can barely make ends meet anyway and now a child is on the way.

Our daughter is in college, but living with her boyfriend. We committed to providing tuition, but all other expenses are hers. There is great struggling for her in wanting to truly be on her own doing whatever she wants and still needing us because she's struggling to make ends meet as well.

When they decided to live with their significant other, we cut off support for living expenses. It may seem harsh, to cut off our children only because they chose to live with their significant other. But as Christians, we will not lend support to sin. But, oh, how we've struggled with it. Who wants their child to have to struggle when it's a simple thing to buy groceries, hiking boots, give money because they lost their wallet?

But, we've reached the point of drawing a tough line and living by it with them. We've felt our hearts being tugged by pity and sorrow for their choices and it's costing us emotionally and monetarily and it is taking a toll on us physically.

We will be putting into action the ability to say no. To say to them "No, we can't help you." To say to ourselves "No, they need to be able to do it themselves." and to say to others "No, they have made the choice to be adults."

We don't know what will be before us once we begin, but oh how glad we are to know we will not be walking this difficult path alone.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Karenpie said...

Ah, my friend, I'm praying for both of you. You're doing the right thing, saying no and being consistent. Don't lose heart! Be strong and courageous! Peanut M&M's might help as well.

soundslikefox said...

my dear gina. i commend yr tough love. the greatest lessons bryan and i have learned were in the dire times of poverty. it made us adults. i think you watched that, if i recall :)