Journey of Faith

Am I ready to tell my story?

Am I ready to tell me story? I’m not sure. I have seen a few things that keep popping up that say, “It’s time to tell your story”. I’m not sure if that’s from the Lord, if it’s Satan trying to steer me the wrong way. I want to do this in the Lord’s timing and not mine. So, I am going to start with some background to put all of this into context later. Growing up, my husband’s parents were super strict. My parents, on the other hand were strict but not overly strict. My mom will tell you that they didn’t have to be because my sister’s and I really didn’t cause them a lot of problems. Were we saints? Absolutely not! When, my husband and I finally had kids, we wanted them to be able to have friends over, go to friends’ homes, and have some fun without us being helicopter parents. From the time that our boys were little, I told them, “I trust you until you give me a reason to not trust you.”. We felt that was a pretty fair statement. I also told them that just because we don’t see you doing something, doesn’t mean I can’t see you. (Meaning that other people will see you and tell us). My older son found this out one day when he asked in advance if he could walk to a corner store after school with friends. I told him that he could because the store wasn’t that far. Later that day, his one elementary school teacher messaged me asking if Stephen was walking on a certain road earlier in the day. She asked because she thought it was him and couldn’t believe how tall he’d gotten. I told her yes; it was probably him that he asked if he could walk to this store after school. I told him later that day and said, “see, if you wouldn’t have told me what would have happened!”. So again, I never to this point had any reason to think that he was doing things he shouldn’t have been. I wasn’t naive either to think that he wouldn’t. I just had to trust in the process “trust until you give me a reason not to”. When we lived in our first house, the kids seemed to like to congregate near our yard. I later found out that it was because the electrical box was home base for many games. Steve and I weren’t sure we liked them all coming around so much, but my mother-in-law (the strict one) told my husband that maybe this wasn’t so bad. This way we could keep an eye on things and know what they were up to. We knew the parents of these kids because they were our neighbors. Many times, we’d stop outside and chat with them. Some, we are still friends with to this day. Eventually, we moved away from this home and into our first official bigger home, bigger yard. There weren’t really any kids in this new development. The ones that were there, were younger than my oldest and my youngest son was able to play with one boy next door. Also, by this time my older son was finishing up 5th grade and starting to go into middle school. I already explained how quickly he seemed to move up in football. During this time, both boys were playing football. As parents, we were running to games and practices almost every day. We knew most of the parents on the youth teams and the middle school teams. We also knew most of the coaching staff. Everyone that got to know us, knew that our world revolved around our kids. Many things in our careers were changing by this time as well. Both of us were at the peak of our careers, making probably the most we ever had. We were living in the house to go with it, and our social circles were changing. We were able to afford nicer things, we were going on nice vacations, and the kids didn’t want for much. One of the things that my husband and I talked about wanting was a cabin. It was just something that we both always wanted and now seemed like the time to do it. We weren’t sure where we wanted it, or exactly what it was we were looking for. We knew we’d know when we saw it. I liked this area that was about 45 minutes outside of Gettysburg. It was close enough to our home, so we could leave after work and be there rather quickly. It was far enough away, that we felt like we were actually going somewhere. The area is surrounded by beautiful apple orchards, mountains, plenty of fresh air, and there were 2 lakes with beaches close by to relax and just enjoy the day. After some time, my husband ended up finding a cabin on craigslist. Him and I went alone that day to go see it. The lady I believe was asking $13,000 for it. The land was leased, so we wouldn’t own the land. The cabin would be ours and we could do whatever we wanted with it. When we pulled up, the place was so overgrown, the weeds were about waist deep. You could see the potential, but you had to squint to see it lol. The cabin itself wasn’t small. It was about 1300 square feet, with a loft. She was leaving everything. That was good and bad because that meant that we had to then figure out a way to toss what we didn’t want to keep. (That ended up being a lot). The cabin needed a lot of TLC from sitting and not being properly maintained. The gutters fell off, causing a leak in the back of the cabin to then rot through part of the roof and wall. It needed painted, gutted, the back room where the wall/roof was falling apart needed totally renovated. It was a project, and we aren’t handy people. My husband took a leap of faith and offered the lady on the spot $8,000. He told her, this needs a LOT of work. We have no idea to what extent, other than what we can see. He explained to her that he was going to have to get some help, buy materials. Shockingly, she accepted. I think she knew that it was bad, and that she wasn’t going to get many other offers. We spent the next several months (by this time my oldest son was close to 16) going back and forth, meeting friends, family to just empty the place out. We met some local guys that lived up there who was kind enough to mow and landscape the yard back to its original glory. They were the kind of guys that didn’t charge you much, wouldn’t take more if you tried to offer it and on occasions asked us to pick up a case of beer or bottom shelf vodka. Sounds strange, but that’s what they wanted. After some time, they became our primary handymen. It worked for us because they did great work, were cheap and they lived close by and could work when we weren’t around. This then gave us time to come up almost every weekend to check on the progress. We were able to start staying at the cabin after a few months, and to our disappointment our oldest son hated it. He hated it because there was no internet, because there was no tv, nothing to do, whine, whine, whine. He ended up getting a part-time job with one of the football parents who owned a bounce house business. He worked almost every weekend. This required us to sometimes get up and drive him to their warehouse before 5am to meet another worker who would then drive them to the job. This started to then infringe on us being able to go to the cabin and check on the progress of work we were paying to have done. A few times we would drive up after dropping him off, then turn around and come back the same day. His friends were starting to drive, and as I explained before, many of his teammates were older than he was. I wasn’t crazy about another teen driving him, but I had seen a few of them drive and felt that they were safe. He had started to ask one or two of his buddies if they could pick him up so that we didn’t have to come back so early. I told him, “I didn’t want anyone in the house when we were gone”. I told him that I wanted them to go to that person’s house, he could be dropped off and they leave but I didn’t want people in the house when we weren’t home. He would normally call or text us to let us know what his plans would be. Most of the time, he would tell me that he was going to his one friends grandpa’s house to spend the night. That sounded fine with us and trusted that was what was taking place. I also was friends with a few of our neighbors. I had asked if some of them would keep an eye on our house because we were away. If, our older son was supposed to be at a friend’s house, I let them know this and asked that if they saw any unusual cars around to please let me know. At first, we didn’t have internet or phone at our cabin. Eventually, we figured out that this was a requirement since our son wasn’t going to want to come along. A few times my one neighbor had texted me about a car she saw in the driveway. Those times, I knew that we had given permission for one friend to stay with him. ONE friend. The parents knew we weren’t there, and they knew that if they had any problems to call this boy’s parents. The parents had our numbers, the cabin number, and our son knew they could always ask the neighbors for help if they needed it. We were fairly close to most of the neighbors by this point. We had been to most of their homes for cookouts, get together, and knew what kind of people we were. Our one neighbor was a police officer. So, we also felt that our son was smart enough to know that he could see anything going on. (That wasn’t his responsibility. I had asked as a friend if they would keep an eye on the house, etc. when I knew we would be away). We felt that we were doing everything necessary to prevent something from happening. The rules were in place that no one was allowed there if we weren’t home, if someone was there, it was one person and this kids parents knew we weren’t there. I contacted the neighbors, asking for their help if anything looked suspicious, and my in-laws didn’t live far away if they needed them until we could get home. We also had many other friends at this point who grew to be more like family that our son knew he could call if he needed to. Let us not forget that by this time we were buying into the “FAMILY” mantra through football. Later, I would realize that allowing him to stay home, thinking we were doing the right things, would be one of the biggest mistakes that we made.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

#Parenting #Teens #Teenagers #MakingGoodChoices #ParentingInstructions


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