A writer? An architect? A scientist? A doctor? The president?
A lover of animals? A good friend? A sympathetic listener? A devoted spouse? A dedicated parent?
You know it's possible for your unborn child to become any of these things, but you gamely promise yourself that you'll love that child even if he or she becomes none of those things. You hope for the best, naturally, but secretly you also pray you have what it takes to love unconditionally even if your baby grows up to be a bit of a disappointment to you as an adult.
I have reached that crossroad in my life as a mother.
Jake had a lot of promise; he really did. He was cheerful and sweet, a quick learner, a big hugger. He rarely cried. He reached all the baby milestones at the appropriate times: Turning over, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, etc. People told us on a regular basis how charming and adorable he was. And he was fun to be with. Looking back, it's impossible to pinpoint when things started to change, when Jake started to turn bad.
Maybe an outsider could have seen the signs, but I, as his mother, lived with him every day and must have simply missed the subtle changes. Isn't it funny how the closer you are to a situation, the harder it is for you to see it clearly? I wonder now if my friends and acquaintances were talking behind our backs, whispering that Jake was turning into a problem child, that it was a shame we weren't better able to guide him and keep him on track. Why didn't they speak up? What kind of friends are these, to sit back and watch us wander off into peril, rather than reaching out to help yank us back to safety?
But it's silly for me to sit here and place blame. I know that, after all, I'm his mother, and it was my job to guide Jake and help him become the best person he could be. If I'm going to point fingers, I should point at myself, because I'm the one who failed here.
And I know that I should love him unconditionally, but there are things I can't accept. I can't condone drinking and driving, for instance. It's irresponsible, it's dangerous, it's reckless. Yet Jake won't listen to me. In these photos you can clearly see he's behaving like a rabid frat boy, yet he's still in his jammies, barefoot, because it's barely 8 AM. What kind of person is this?
Half an hour later, he's so loaded he barely looks human anymore. And nothing I can say or do will slow him down when he's in this state. He's like Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. Except that he's wearing jammies with cartoon dump trucks on them.
What would you do? Take his car away? Sounds like a good plan, since he's clearly not inclined to operate it in a responsible manner, and since he's demonstrated that he's not deserving of the privilege. Yet, when I tried that, I discovered it only encouraged him to commit even more heinous crimes, since he's more than willing to steal a car, even willing to hurt the owner of the car in the process.
I never expected motherhood to be easy, and I don't want to turn this blog into a "poor me" rant about how hard my life is. But I'm reaching out to you. What can I do to stop this little monster from ending up on the FBI's "Most Wanted Toddlers" list?