Reflection time: Yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to have my entire family together in one place at the same time. I appreciate these days because they rarely happen. When we have family get togethers there is almost always one missing for some reason or another. However, this time while I was excited, I was also apprehensive for what lie ahead.
Let me back up a little bit to a few months back. It will be a bit of a rabbit trail, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep you all on track without much confusion. Back in March my youngest son became a road deputy. As his mother I was both thrilled for him, yet scared for the things I can’t see or control. I quickly realized though, that my only job as his mother is to be supportive and cover him in prayer. During this time, St. Louis became a place of riots and law enforcement became literal targets as well as across the country.
Tensions and opinions on social media became high as well. My son understands that not everyone is going to agree on matters, or post the most positive things, but the one person he didn’t think he would have to do battle with was his own father. My sons were raised with conflicting beliefs when it came to law enforcement. One parent said question all authority, and another parent who said to be respectful to all authority. So imagine what it is like as an adult child knowing how one parent feels about law enforcement. The “just” of this is that my son and his father have not spoken a word to each other since the end of July, because as his father said, “cops lie and need to be part of the solution, not the problem”. “I don’t respect law enforcement”.
So, jump ahead to the family get together on Sunday. Apprehension is definitely there, we weren’t sure how to respond or interact. Lots of prayer before the get together had taken place and the moment of truth was here. I am and always will be my sons mother. However, I had to remember that this is not my “battle”. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not do well when my children are hurting. His dad and the new wife show up and any questions as to how this was going to go were quickly answered. My son, his wife, and their two children were ignored. While my older son, and his family were embraced.
I sat quietly and watched how each of my sons reacted to their father’s attention or lack of. I left the family get together and drove home and began to reflect on a few things. The first thing I began to think about was how can a parent treat their children so differently? Why does it seem that he can’t get along with both sons at the same time? I don’t really have a clear answer to these questions yet.
The second thing I began to think about was how my younger son was dealing with being ignored. I realized that it doesn’t matter how young or how old our children are, divorce affects them. I can say with 100% certainty that it doesn’t ever affect them in a positive way. A child wants to know that their parent loves them, approves them. Is proud of them. Whether that child is a toddler, teenager, or an adult; even I at my young age of 51 would love to have my parents approval. It is in our nature.
Several hours went by when I got a text from my son. He was concerned if I was OK. His first thought was if I was OK? How can it be that he would be concerned if I was OK since his father has no significance to me any longer. My response was simply to ask how he was. He has always been a child who put others before himself. He didn’t say anything other than he was upset because his father didn’t pay attention to his sons. They didn’t do anything wrong.
Today I sit and reflect on that day, and how blessed I am. I have two sons that are amazing in their own way. I have their unconditional love and they both know they have mine. They don’t have to earn it, work for it, or be concerned if I will love one more than the other. Despite the situation in which they were raised, they both have turned out to be respectful, outstanding men. My hope is that my son, both of my sons, will know they are loved. They are worthy, and they are accepted.