Letting my son learn through experience
Jasmine Peters Jasmine Peters is the founder of Parenting Wellness Center, a certified life coach, an ordained nondenominational pastor, author and single parent of five. ^ Reach her through her website at Parent ingWellnessCenter. com. To read more related articles on parenting, visit ofcnow.co/ijZ.
It doesn’t take a man to raise a
man, and if it does,
that man is a man first.
He’s back! Safe and sound, less than 30 days later, my oldest son is back, with a smile on his face and life lessons to share. Having a gay mother and an absent father, he thought that he was missing something. At a crucial time in his life, and as he prepared for adulthood, he felt that he needed his father’s influence to finally become a man. His request was to go live with his father. Most of his friends come from heterosexual two-parent households. He would see his friends and their dads throwing the football to one another in the park, or be told his friends couldn’t hang out because they’re helping work on their ol’ mans car. I decided to let my son get to know his father for himself without my influence, so I made sure my contact to him was minimal – but I also made sure he knew he could always call me any time. It was 2 a.m. when I received a phone call to come and get him – “or else…” After talking to all parties involved, the ill feelings were mutual and it was time to intervene and bring him home. With only the clothes on his back, he was on the next flight to Colorado. I greeted him at baggage claim with a big hug and kiss on his cheek. He laid his head on my shoulder as we hugged and cried. He said that he was so sorry. I pulled back from my hug and asked him why he was apologizing. His response will stay with me for a long time. He said, “It’s not about who teaches the lesson, but
that the lesson is learned. It doesn’t take a man to raise a man, and if it does, make sure that man is a man first. Instead it takes a loving guide to allow the lesson to be learned and to be available if there are questions. You are my guide mom and thank you for being there for me.” Since he was young, he always compared who he was to his father’s participation in his life – or the lack thereof. He felt he wasn’t good enough, that there must be something wrong with him if his father wouldn’t be part of his life. I made it a point to not talk ill of my children’s biological fathers. I know that as they mature they will see those individuals for who they are. So that I don’t taint their view and cause possible resentment towards me, my rule is to not talk bad about the absent parent, to reassure my children that they are loved by both parents, but sometimes the absent parent has a tough time showing their love for them in a healthy way so decides to stay away. My heart leapt for joy in hearing the many lessons my son learned while temporarily away, but I also carried a sense of sadness that he had to go through all of this to learn them. I continue to learn that I will not always be able to wipe the tears away from my children’s eyes; I will not be able to mend their broken hearts. Sometimes lessons have to be learned through experience, but a greater appreciation is also created once the hard lesson is learned. ]
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Family Centered Medicine
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march 20, 13 | outfrontonLine.com
COVER STORY: Young, Gay and Broke: gay men who live outside the margins of traditional society.