Anger, Fear and Grace

17 Sep

I’m afraid. This morning I was angry. I was angry that my 16-year-old wasn’t doing as well as in school as I knew he could. I was angry that my 13-year-old neglected to turn in two assignments and lost his cell phone. I was angry because it felt like I always have to be on top of everything that goes on in my house or things begin to slide. I was angry because I’ve written a book on parenthood that I really think will help people, and yet I’m questioning my own ability to parent.

So when my youngest child got on the bus this morning I started to walk like I do every day, and I started to talk to the Divine Universe. I talked to St. Anthony, and asked him to help us find my son’s phone. I asked the Angels, Guardian and otherwise, to watch over my children and husband like I do every day. I prayed for my children’s schools to be safe, and I prayed to understand why I was so angry and why I felt like such a failure as a parent because of it. I spewed out every angry thought, every hateful word and every ugly feeling that was in my heart. If anyone had heard what I said they probably would’ve thought I was the meanest nastiest woman on the earth. I finished my walk and sat down to meditate like I do every day. I was still pretty angry and used my breathing exercises to help me to start calm down.

As the angry chatter in my mind started to slow down, something much bigger than the anger bubbled up. You see, a coworker and friend of my husband lost his 19-year-old son this week in a car accident that the police suspect involved drugs or alcohol and also involved drag racing. That young man used to play soccer against my 19-year-old son, and I know how very proud his father was of him. I never knew him and only saw him when he played against my son, but this morning I realized just how deeply his death affected me. This could have been my son who made one bad choice that cost him his life. This could be either one of my boys who will someday be 19 years old who could make a bad choice that could cost them their lives. It could be one of my nieces or nephews or one of the friends of my children, and I realized that all of this anger that I’m feeling is really fear, really really deep fear.

It starts with the fear that my children could make a bad choice that could cost them their lives, but it also is a fear that I haven’t done a good enough job as a parent to teach them how to walk away from those bad choices. It makes me realize how lucky I was as a teenager and how many situations I was in that could’ve gone much worse than they did. It makes me realize that in the grand scheme of things a bombed quiz, a forgotten homework and a lost cell phone don’t mean very much in and of themselves, but it also makes me realize that a nonchalant attitude about those things can also lead to a nonchalant attitude about other, more important things. It’s confusing and frightening, and it feels like I’ve come to one of the most important moments of my parenting career.

Like most parents, each of my children is a piece of my heart and soul that walks around outside my body. I love them more than I ever thought I could love another human being, and I wish for them to have a better life than mine in every area; spiritual, emotional, financial and physical. My greatest purpose in life is to be the best wife and mother I can be so that someday each of my boys can be the best husband, father and human being that they can be. Some days that purpose brings me the greatest joy and exhilaration I can imagine. Some days, like today, that purpose is overshadowed by the fear of events completely out of my control. Some days, like today, I question everything I think I know about parenting and whether I’m doing it right. I wonder if I’m the only one who feels so out of control and so helpless and afraid. I’m sure that I’m not, but in those most desperate moments, it feels very lonely indeed.

So today when my kids get home from school, they’ll be reading this post so that they understand under all the anger they saw last night and this morning that there was really fear. We’ll be talking about choices, good and bad, and what can happen as a result. We’ll be praying for a family that we know is heartbroken over the passing of one of their sweet boys, and we will be inspired from their loss to love more and to be better on every level. From their tragedy, I promise to be a more present and positive parent. I promise to be more courageous, more authentic and more loving. I promise to finish what I started with my children and my book and to encourage parents whenever possible. It’s the least and the most I can do, and if you’re someone who is a believer in God, the Divine or whatever you call the force greater than ourselves, please send up a prayer, white light and good vibes to all those who struggle with parenting the future of our world. Thanks for being you and have a great day.


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