Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Loyalty of Children

Often I like to remind myself that my kids aren't going to be this age forever - when you are their hero, their inspiration, their role model. They will try to get what they want all the time, but deep down they have a love for you that can't be denied. It's unconditional and pure. It's uncluttered and simple.

Right now my wife is going through a really tough time, and her daughter seems to be having the time of her life. My wife spent a lot of last night hiding her tears, feeling the tremendous weight on her chest, alternating between sadness and anger. Frustration and hopelessness. And JL? Well, she was yukking it up with her boyfriend. Making jokes at our expense. And even today, just glancing on her blog, she has a pretty sprightly attitude about the whole thing. She doesn't care about what she's putting her mother through, and she sure as hell doesn't know what's in store for her.

JL thinks that going to Bellingham will solve all her problems. She thinks loving someone enough will make everything go away, and that love is forever, and it conquers all. Anyone with anything more than an ounce of intelligence will beg to differ. True love requires a lot of work. It requires respect, it requires communication, and it requires real friendship. Not poetry or false promises. Not lies and excuses. Real love isn't easy. It's a lot of hard work. But she's sold on that idea, so she'll have to find out the hard way.

The lies she uses to build her fantasy world will collapse on her, because they are what they are - fibs. Excuses. She says Bellingham is where her dad is. Her friends are. Her future is. Her sister is. While all that has some degree of truth, the real truth is much more selfish, more conceited. It's where her boyfriend is. Or at least what she wants her boyfriend to be. She's always maintained a rather distorted sense of optimism to their relationship, one that consists of pretending to be someone else, or to tolerate the other as long as they can.

She's already chosen the wrong path at the crossroads, and now it's almost entirely up to herself to choose to turn around and head back where she came from, or to look for an alternate route. There's no one to guide her anymore, to yell at her that she's going the wrong way. The wolves on her current path want the same thing as she does - whatever's beneficial for oneself. They want her for different reasons - one wants a roomate and a surrogate wife, to take care of him and help bring in extra income so that she can help with rent, as well as act as a collateral to get child support. The other wants her for something more primal. Something that will not last. It will either get boring, or youth will give way to age and her body will change. It's like a 9 year old dating a 13 year old. Their maturity is made up of playing house, and romantic ideas that never materialize into real emotion.

Personally, I'd really want to move past this, because it's been nothing but destructive to our lives. The kids are not getting our attention, and the bratty teenager doesn't care that she's hurting anyone. All she cares about is her gratification. Our best wish for her may be that she doesn't have anyone treat her the same way she's been treating us.

One life is ending. The other, well one will have to wait and see. It saddens me to think that she'll never finish high school. To conquer that last part of school that would make it possible to eek by in this quasi-modern world. I wish there was somthing I could do or say that would help. The best I can come up with is that M and I will be here. Always. It might not be much, but it could be all that you need right now. I do wish her the best and hope the fall if any won't be too hard.
She is technically "finishing" high school up in Bellingham, but given her track record, having failed all but one class last year, it's difficult to imagine her doing anything different. I hope that she proves my wife and I wrong and finishes high school.

Thank you guys for offering to be there. We'll pass it on to her.

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