Wednesday, November 18, 2015

When the Train is on the Wrong Track

The wheel of change moves on, and those who were down go up and those who were up go down. ~Jawaharlal Nehru

My Princess...it seemed that everything was going so good for her, that God was blessing her so abundantly, but she had become unreachable emotionally. Now she is again reachable but she began on a track that was the wrong one and her train just kept rolling on it, seemingly without God as the Engineer. Yes, she has been going on very rough rails and it breaks my heart to watch, but as teenagers become more independent thinkers, they can make some bad choices, which they rationalize to fit their own sense of justification. This often means that very rules we set as parents to protect them (because we have wisdom they have not yet acquired) will get bent and broken in varying degrees. It is a time of learning wisdom for themselves and it can come at some very high prices. Had the Princess used wisdom in respecting our rules and honoring us, she would not have broken the other ones that were set by the church play acting group and she would not have lost her role, the lead role, in the play.

We found out about her losing the part in the play on Sunday, November 8th, after church and that was the second whammy. The first being described in all the detail I felt comfortable to write in a public blog in my last post.

Then came the third! They say these things come in threes so I am very much hoping this is the last...for a very, very, VERY long time. (Three for three!)

This one happened at the school science retreat that she and her father were on the first week of November, because on Monday, November 9th—the day after we were given the news about the play—the mother of my daughter's best friend, a girl, at school and I talked. It was then I that learned about my daughter breaking another rule.

My friend's husband was also a chaperon in the only cabin where the pitiful air conditioner was not working at all in heat and humidity of Florida; the coolest night temperatures were in the 80's. My husband and this man were tentatively planning to have lunch on Monday. He has a similar job in another company so he was about to go out of state to the north and my husband was doing the same although he would be turning eastward after they ate. However, he realized something involving our daughter on the last day of the retreat and did not get to talk to my husband that day as they were preparing to leave. Sunday he thought we all would need to rest, so it could wait until Monday, but the lunch plans changed when we got the news about the play. We felt that we needed to be together as much as possible so my family went out together instead.

Back to Sunday, after the news about the play and being concerned about my daughter's mental/emotional state, I texted the wife to ask if her daughter, my daughter's best friend, could stay over night the coming Saturday as I had suggested a few weeks previously. Unfortunately, they were expecting family to visit so it was not possible, but she also texted that she had some concerns from the hardships and observations at the retreat. Considering her husband was in the cabin with the worse conditions, I figured that was at least one of the main ones, and we made plans to talk after I returned home from lunch on Monday with my husband and daughter.

Within the first few minutes, she told me what her husband had been hoping to tell my husband that day. I found myself moaning "no" and yet believing it completely.

After we completed our conversation that included other things which concerned her regarding the retreat that had nothing to do with my daughter, I called my husband, who almost turned right back around to come home, but instead he worked to make the two day job he was being sent to do done in one day and came back the following day with just two hours of sleep...actually, neither one of us slept well that night.

My husband was unaware of her breaking any rules while at the retreat; no one told him. The boys and girls are kept separate, except for group and team activities during the day, and while my husband was there he was the single chaperon in the cabin of a small group of boys. Due to the subtropical heat and sun, three of his boys became ill the first day, but one in particular had a bad time with the heat the entire week. Also, my husband is a very helpful kind of guy, therefore he was doing above and beyond his assigned duties, like changing the a flat tire for the school leader and such. So, although my husband was right there, he rarely saw our daughter and her chaperon failed to talk to him about the matter, even though she was aware of it...even facilitating what was against the rules on the retreat.

Many of those wonderful blessings God provided for the Princess as opportunities are for now just really sad reminders of what was taken away while she was trying to hide things from the very people who love her the most, could help her the most, and who will forgive her the most.

I have been having the weeping eyes syndrome off and on for about three weeks now. I go through the day with that uniquely exhausted feeling one has after a long gut wrenching cry, even though I have not had one...well, maybe in my spirit I am continually having one? I have been teetering between anger and despair. I can barely even pray because I start talking to my Lord about these things and I just end up ranting, forgetting completely that I was talking to the All Mighty. Peace eludes me or I, it.

After my husband spent much time in prayer and attempting to myself, I agreed with what he felt was God's answer: to remove our daughter from school. I was surprised that I actually feel relieved when he said it. The Princess is in a far better emotional and mental state since we found out about the incomplete school work, even with the lost of her role in the play. She has bad days still, but at least now she is also having good ones. She has been laughing and smiling and teasing like my Princess, the girl who bounces back and makes the very best of where she is with a happy heart. I see her in the cracks.

Perhaps we were not supposed to place her in the Home Study Center at all this year. Before we had paid our enrollment fees last spring, I felt that we should take this year off from the school. It really took a toll on my homeschooling and our relationship last year to get all her assignments and special projects done. I thought I just wanted a break and maybe that I was being selfish, but in retrospect I now think God was telling me not to do it this year.

We waited to tell the Princess of our decision to remove her from school until after her piano recital on Sunday, November 15th, but we prepared her about the possibility that the school could suspend her (although it is in the handbook, we doubted they would). She withheld her emotions during that talk, waiting until her father left for another longer work trip to have it out with me alone today. She told me that she was not happy that we did not "consult" her before making the decision or at least give her the right to choose, because she wanted to continue her classes there. I raised my eyebrows: "You did make that choice. You made it quite clear that you did not really want to be in the school by your choice of actions for the past two months, like not completing your assignments, including the lying you did to hide it." (Ironically, we have been doing devotions for the past two months based on communication and how much more actions and body language and then tone have greater weight than the meaning of words spoken—did I not say that God has been guiding her path and stays steps ahead of her?)

There were many reasons that contributed to the decision to remove her from the school besides what I have written so far and not all the fault of the Princess, at least not directly. One was that it concerned us that she could hand in only half of her work from the very first week of school and on, yet we were not told about this until two months had passed, after I asked her teachers to contact me about it. Since any assigned work handed in a week late only gets 80% credit and 0% after that, I would think that two to three weeks of incomplete assignments would warrant communication from the teacher to the parents.

There is more, but the worst of it all, I hate that I cannot trust my own daughter right now. It has been tearing me apart for weeks. I just want to hug my child with all the love I have for her to love away her self-hating thoughts and these tears that keep seeping out of my broken heart.

My Lord, I feel we are at a pivotal point and You want us to turn sharply in another direction. Please guide us to the right path that You have prepared for us and have prepared us for.

3 comments:

  1. I am pleased you have pulled her out of school. I have felt for some time that this was not the right time & it was causing difficulties but had nothing concrete to go on so held my peace. Now you have spoken I can confirm that I believe this is the best & wisest choice for your family just now. We probably need to chat. It has been chaos here just now but hopefully about to settle. Temporarily.

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    Replies
    1. I am so glad we chatted, but really it was me talking way too much and listening too little. I still want to hear the details of the wedding!

      Thank you for being my bestest friend. Who would have thought I would have such a good friend half way around the world?

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.