Caught Red-Handed


Filthy, sinful, bad.

I am really sorry.

I didn’t get sick.

None of my family got sick.

I’m not afraid of getting sick.

When I have spoken to God, He has manifested His peace in my circumstances.

The world around me screams that goodness is encased in behaving fearfully.

The sun is out. The birds are nesting.

One of my daughters got married.

The other is expecting a baby.

My son is learning the good life lessons that all boys must learn to become men of good character.

My sons-in-law are emerging into godly leaders (it’s a process).

The girls are discovering the challenges and delights of Biblical womanhood (also a process).

Our family is growing in all the ways.

My to-do list is still like the ocean. If I scoop a bucketful out, the hole closes up with more, as if I had never been there.

Even so, more has gotten done, because there’s no temptation to “get out in the sunshine” and drive around wasting time and gas. I can get in the sunshine on the porch.

I apologize.

Earlier last month, I said, “Being afraid to die has made people afraid to live.”

It seems my gratitude and calm (characteristics for which I am not known), are sins. Godliness has become measured by the harvest of fear-based works. If such is the case, can I submit my offering out of the last several years behavior and apply for understanding this season in which I simply am not anxious (Only about getting fussed with by someone who is “digging the heck” out of global pandemic and the sewing of permanent masks).

Remaining engaged with the wedding, Easter, and two birthdays, since this widespread sickness began to be tracked in the U.S., seems to be a cardinal sin. I have seen people smile with delight to learn of others cancelled plans and received apologies for assumed plan cancellations, when we were filled with excitement for plans followed through.

Many spiritual friends offered constructive criticism about my anxiety and negativity and immaturity in the last couple of years. For reasons I can’t discern, I have danced with joy in my heart during this time. Knowing God is in control. He isn’t surprised by our circumstances. He loves us wildly. If I die, I know it isn’t the end and I will see my beautiful people when they get there.

So, I’m sorry. I confess. This time has brought my dependence on God into clearer focus (I’m in no less control today than I was on January 1). He has used the sunshine and the celebration and a glorious multiplication to chasten me for my long term failure to be a godly woman. I know I don’t deserve any of the things I dream of, but He has brought about a great deal of the things I visualized as a little child and a young woman, that I never dared ask Him for. And not just in the short moments of this national panic. Yet, this time has brought all that into focus so that I dance in my heart, while I release my hopes, dreams, and desires to Him in a new way. His plans are always better than we could dream.

This moment has been a manifestation of His promises fulfilled. Yet I am bound and gagged lest I dare glorify Him before the plagued, fearful assembly of the saints.

Yeah, no.

I don’t want to disrespect anybody who is sick or unemployed. Because of that, I am not looking past this important time.

Time to glorify Him for His goodness.

Time when we can defy the enemy of our souls by allowing the joy of the LORD to be our strength.

Time to believe the promises are still in effect. Even if normal business hours are not.

For as many as are the promises of God, in Him [Christ] they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

The Bad News First

You can’t pay attention to broadcast or online news without getting a faceful of frightening, infuriating filth. Oppression, Lies, Vanity, Danger. Human beings doing their worst to one another. Partisan views. Yellow journalism. And a story about a middle schooler who crochets toboggans for shelter pets.

This morning, I have no middle schoolers to report on.

When we look at the wars, foolish controversies, and capricious cruelty of our world, our inner 4th grade girl keens, “Why can’t everyone just love each other?”

Great question, Madison.

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news first.

Love isn’t what you think it is.

Love isn’t permission to do whatever you want. Love isn’t approval for selfish choices at the expense of others. Love isn’t sexual gratification. It’s not a thrilling emotion.

Your culture tells you love means agreement. Love means letting you do your thing even if your thing is deceptive, dangerous, and destructive. Even if you look like a fool, love means silence. Until you don’t want it to. Then love means defending your foolishness to others. Publicly aligning with what might destroy you, but it’s, by gawd, what you’ve decided, so people can agree with you or be assaulted on Facebook tough it.

Love isn’t covered in pink flowers. It’s dressed in coveralls and carrying a shovel.

Love is higher, harder, and holier.

Love is sacrificial.

Love inconveniences itself.

Love confronts. Not to fight, but to point out the elephant in the room and ask to please stop shoveling dung and live an elephant-free existence.

Love is born in conflict. Love can’t be seen in the agreement times. If everyone agrees with me all the time, I will think I love everyone I meet. It is not until I differ with someone, that I can tell if I love them, or if they can shove the hell off. Likewise, they figure out if I am worth the trouble.

Why does love need to be patient? Because I am an asshole unbelievable jerk.

Why does love need to be kind? Because I am unkind.

Why does love does love not envy or boast? Because one of us isn’t better or worse than the other. We are both sinners.

Why is love not arrogant or rude? Because momentarily, we will switch places and need the other’s mercy and grace.

Why does love not demand its own way? Because my way isn’t THE way, it’s a way.

Why is love not irritable or resentful? Irritability shows that I’m afraid to communicate, because I know it’ll be on me to change. Resentment reveals my tendency to think you deserve the best, but I deserve better first.

That’s probably just me.

Why does love bear all things? Because love knows it isn’t a treat to live with either.

Why does love believe, hope, and endure all things? Because it’s believing God, not me. Hoping in His promise, not mine. It wants to win the war for our hearts together, not a hundred battles against each other over trivia.

Why does it always protect? Trust? Persevere? It just does. Because it’s love.

In the meantime, love doesn’t let me by with immaturity. It tells me when it knows I’m better than my behavior. It makes my growth and maturity its own priority. It prays for me. It sings songs to the LORD over me.

The good news. Is that you are loved beyond all reason. You are cherished by your Creator, even when you are at your unreasonable worst. I am, too. There is a place to find true love and objective truth. It never changes. It judges your fist-shaking defiance, and places your consequences on Jesus. It chastens your legalistic accusers, and tells you to “stop-doing-that,” as soon as the door swings shut behind them. You can’t outrun Him or outsmart Him. He’s waiting when you stop trying to be beyond the scope of Him.

To the people who have to put up with me, I am aware that “those who can’t teach.” We can talk about it over dinner.

Gotcha What?

At what age do we become aware that we belong to someone? How old is an orphan when s/he learns that most children belong to people who claim them, provide for them, delight in them, plan for their futures, are proud of them — but they don’t have that. They live on a compound with other orphans and watch some go to families, but some don’t.  Why?

Imagine the courage to wait and watch and become a big kid. Imagine praying for a forever family for more than half your life.  Imagine watching other children meet their families. Some of those kids kind and courageous and you might think, “Yeah, s/he is awesome. I wish I were cool like them, so I could be loved .” Some of those kids you’re probably glad to see the back of, but you might wonder why that little meanie gets a family, and not you, and you might wonder, “If s/he gets love and a family, and I can’t, what must be wrong with me?” Imagine carers in your orphanage, for whom this might be just a job, who might make careless comments about families from other countries, orphans, and the value of belonging.  What if they tell you foreigners are monsters and will eat you?

What if there sometimes isn’t enough food? What if the food is not always fresh, but sometimes rotten? What if you aren’t always kept clean? What if you cannot leave your bed at night to use the restroom? What if other kids’ insomnia is your problem? What if, in waiting for workers to care for ‘all ’em kids‘, the individual goes days and days between one-on-one, face-to-face, sustained eye contact with an adult who says their name and asks about their day?

Congenital Hepatitis B, complete bi-lateral cleft lip and palate, orphaned at 14 months, into foster care at 4,  At 5, he met another in a procession of short term visitors to the family educational center that employed his foster parent.  The visitor had no plans to expand a family, no bent towards intercountry adoption, and less funds than she knew, when she saw his face.

Moved to America at 6, has been in 3 churches, had 5 surgeries, and just wants a golden retriever (I’m willing to negotiate for a basset hound mix, after the dogs we have, have crossed the rainbow bridge).

This man is brave. Real brave. Not “you-spoke-in-front-of-a-group brave”. “Pack your bags, believe a bunch of adults (who, let’s face it, up to that point, hadn’t done a lot to make themselves credible), take on a new continent, nation, culture, climate, language, cuisine (hated beans when he came here)” kind of brave.

He had no idea.


He loves about everyone.  He serves quickly and wordlessly.  He is generous with the smile, he’s endured so much to own.  He cares about his family in a real way.  He rarely complains.  He works diligently on school work. He, plain out, reveres his sisters and their men.  His faith and trust in Christ, lived out daily, challenges me.

At 15, he’s not perfect.  His heart hopes for things not-yet-seen (golden retrievers and such).

Today is Marc’s Gotcha Day. It’s the day I met him  at the Civil Affairs office in Xi’An, Shaanxi, China, and took him into my care and our family. Nine years into knowing his big, giant heart, we are the lucky ones, we are the blessed.

We had no idea.

Inconvenient and Embarrassing AF

~My husband will take issue with the use of the term AF in the title of this post.~

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day. Several friends have posted devotional thoughts or statistics to raise awareness. I thought I would take another tack.

This past Sunday, a pastor and a few friends prayed for me. In the last couple of years, we’ve barely had a chance to process one change, than another came. Like a proper SAHM/homemaker, I’m the shock-absorber.  I’ve asked for help.  I’ve called the church, talked to family, gone to therapy and spoken with friends.

Finally, like an electrical cord that gets hot when too much current blazes through it, in May, I had to step away and spend some time alone for a few days. You unplug for a minute, but not nearly long enough. Then, when it’s mostly cooled down, you plug right back in under the same load as before.

In June, I asked to check into the hospital. I was unable to do my job and unable to communicate (how serious a person must be to ask this). It didn’t happen and was swept away, in the midst of birthdays, holidays, life transitions, physical illness, and injuries. July passed in a blur.

In, early August, I was back in that place again. I spent three days at a friend’s house. I rested and prayed and sought out the people who would hold me accountable, and they did. As I poured out my heart, each of three trusted friends had similar insights. Not the least of which, was my neglect of my physical health. Following Thyroid cancer last year, my tiny synthroid tablet was the only daily acknowledgement that I occupied a physical vessel, at all.

I began planning better meals and taking my vitamins. In a few days, my energy and outlook did a 180, but if I had to speak to my burned out emotional state, tears and snot poured. I was focused on the present moment, but ignoring the stress monster that brought me to the point of strange thoughts– where certain situations caused me to have mental pictures of dangerous things. (Just pictures. I immediately reported these visualizations to my husband and they dissipated.)

If we’ve just met, you should know, three years ago, I dropped out of a Graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  I know a little about the lay of the land. There are no perfect plans. Every plan is fraught with statistical probability that you survive, disabled, to be cared for by those you want to leave; an actual daily challenge, rather than the one I think I am now.

I feel better than I have since months/years before they found the mass on my Thyroid. But this prayer thing, with the church on Sunday, made me feel like Charisse in the movie, Kingdom Come. When she had to keep on going in her stress, she behaved badly. Another family member said, “Don’t pay her any mind, she just likes attention.”

No one said that, but it was inconvenient. I was aware of afternoon activities that I was delaying. It’s reeeeeeally embarrassing to ask for years and have

ev. er. y. one.,

act like you didn’t say anything or you’re being selfish, immature. To ask to unplug. To ask someone else to plug in. I was in a place where I was fantasizing about strange, inappropriate, non-suicidal things, just so someone would look in my direction, and possibly say, “Are you OK?” It feels like, a classic illustration of how difficult it is to make changes because those whose situations rely on your pattern might resist. Did I stigmatize myself, because I had to tell the truth? Absolutely. There are a lot of people who can’t deal with someone being transparent and vulnerable and not a freaking superhero.

It’s common to hear when someone commits suicide, “They never said anything. I didn’t know.” They might not have said it to you, but they did. They are saying it now. Listen. Look for the trail of crumbs. Don’t make it incumbent upon them to behave in an undignified way. To be deliberately bizarre. They don’t just, “like attention.”

On the worst days when despair dogged my steps. I could still see the kindness of God and the bounty of my blessings. I just couldn’t feel like I was allowed a place at the table to share in the feast with my beautiful cloud of witnesses. For a time, I lost my grip on hope to live through the day I was on. But Hope didn’t lose His grip on me.

If you are burning out. If you are falling fast. If you are cruising the internet today to add fuel to the burning pain, stop. Call your safest person, even if it’s that nice gal at the bank (I’m looking at you, Amanda).  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.  Call me. You have a place at the table.  Don’t believe the lie that no one knows how it feels.  It feels embarrassing and inconvenient.  Yes, and crazy.  But it’s OK.  Hope is trying to get to you.

Friday Slay


To kill in a violent fashion.


To greatly impress or amuse someone.

Like when a knight kills a dragon.

Something’s been bothering me.

We give ourselves a lot of credit, these days. We say you’ve slain, when you’ve showered, applied make-up, your clothes fit well, and you show up.


Good hygiene, isn’t a dragon.

Showing up on time, prepared for the task at hand, is not a dragon.

Putting in a full day’s work? Not a dragon.

Doing your best whether your peers do, or not.   Not. A. Dragon.

Dragons breathe fire and destroy everything in their mythical paths.


…destruction along mythical lines, looks a little more complex.

But let’s say this:

Dragons are not a thing that can be handled without swords and armor.

You are not safe from a Dragon. Even if it is asleep.

Many, if not most, are invisible.

Dragons are, for most people, something to hide from.

But not for you, Beloved.


You are better than good eyebrows.  You are faithful.

You are more than your resume.  You are fact.

You are stronger than your story.  You are fireproof*.

The myth is that it renders you powerless.

The myth is that it defines you.

The myth is that you have to live with the dragon, and train it, hang out with it, invite it to every party in your honor, and wear it on your t-shirt everyday.


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)





*The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die. I John 2:17(Phillips)


Protected: Romance for Beginners, Part Two: Understanding the Opposite Sex

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Refugee Status

Warning: Compulsive Grammarians will be offended by the following:

Let’s just get this straight.  Politically, I am too lazy to be properly informed and don’t offer opinions, as I’m afraid of being “fullonfacebookignorant”. I don’t have time to read the news comprehensively, so I’m afraid of getting ahold of the wrong end of the stick.  My default state is pretending I don’t have my head in the sand.

Last November, I chose to write-in my vote.  Not throwing it away, but hoping that there were enough of us to bring both candidates down to percentages that didn’t represent a majority, so that neither could become president. (Yes.  That is a real thing.)  Mickey and I were not enough.

America elected a president who invited the Statue of Liberty to take a seat.

The Statue of Liberty*

The Statue of Liberty*

Millions of refugees had roamed the earth while we had plenty of space and a lame duck president.  When something could, finally, get done, it was a knee-jerk, face-slap.  Hundreds or  possibly even thousands with legitimate sponsorship and professional credentials, were locked out.  Families were separated; their loved ones left without legal status in any countries.

God brought me face to face with my own #refugeestatus

The Bible calls me a sojourner.  A refugee.

I walked away from my home, my status, my community, my history, my heritage. Choosing life over clinging to these things (Phil 3).  Choosing to roam, knowing I’m loved somewhere and will be reunited with my brothers and sisters, someday; rather than, dying in my own kingdom.

I don’t know what a day may bring.  I have to sleep with my shoes on.  Periodically, I have contact with far-flung brothers and sisters.  Joy and pain, and broken bread.

I’m on my way home.  I’ll fling my bag on the entry floor.  Eat my fill and change my robe.  And crawl up in Daddy’s lap.  To rest.

In the meantime, it’s not about me.  It’s about the heart of the God who sees.  He saw Hagar and Ishmael laying their heads on stones for pillows.  And he sees her grandchildren. (Genesis 16:9-15; 21:8-21).  It’s about a cup of cool water for the least of these (Matt 25:35-40).

See you back at the house.  (1 Peter 2:9-12)


*Inset: Emma Lazarus, whose poem, “The New Colossus” was immortalized at the foot of the Statue**, in which she refers to as ‘The Mother of Exiles’.

**“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)




Romance for Beginners: Part 1

Warning: This post may contain: Run-on Sentences


There’s a lot of confusion.

  • Is it simply sweetness?  As in a romantic comedy film?  Or a dozen flowers on Valentine’s Day?
  • Is it sex?  As in falling into the arms of someone, whose arms you’ve dreamed about.  Subsequently, finding out the arms you’ve fallen into are attached to a mind and a spirit, and all that’s implied by behaving as if you’re only a body…
  • Is it a man thinking and behaving in feminine ways? Like when a man submits to a day of feminine behavior to please his significant other.  ~Gag~  I hope not.  Don’t make your man go for brunch, shopping and pedicures.  [He should be sending you out to do this on your own, not rolling his eyes, while you’re in the fitting room. And sighing.). Complain that this is sexist.  My blog.  My observations. {No, he doesn’t either, ‘love it because you do’.  He loves you, so he tolerates it.}]
  • Is it a man soliciting for his girlfriend to be more masculine?  Like arranging to propose to her on the jumbotron at the MLB game? *
  • Is it looking cute together?   Uh.  Nur.
  • Is it him liking your pic on {social media platform}?  OHDEARJESUSNO!!!  I don’t care how young you are.  Romance is, categorically, NOT, him liking your social media posts.  If it has to happen in front of a group, real or virtual, that is not romance, it is you (or him) seeking attention and courting the culture, not one another.

All of these things can be fun, wholesome, and thrilling.  But.  They aren’t romance.  Google helpfully defines romance as: a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.  If (and there is) a God in heaven, you will get all of the above someday, but you will not see true romance until things get “remote from daily life”.  Daily life is work and school and church and eating and cleaning.  Remoteness is…  Distant.  Set apart.  Moments when you are in a roomful of people and a million miles away…

Romance will arrive in its time.  It will surprise you.  It might not be a text saying, “Want me to pick you up on my way to the [Pizza] Hut?”  But it could be.  Though that would be landmark.  to-date, unheard of.  surprising.  It might just be pizza.

[OK, everyone turn your heads, I’m about to get personal.]


One of these days, you’ll realize, romance isn’t a cinematographic effect, Valentine’s Day compliance, or defined by a love song.  One of these days, a guy will come along, who sees E’s off-the-charts anxiety for what it is, and looks past it to the wildly profound self-awareness buried under there. For reasons that escape the rest of us, he’ll think that stuff’s cute and sexy.

One of these days, M’s exquisite good taste will intersect with her raging good luck.  Someone will (#FINALLY) realize she won’t take his flirting personally, she just thinks he’s a friendly person.   He’ll tell her plain out, she’s hilarious and makes an impressive exit and he’d like to sit across from her at dinner  and see her chew with her mouth open, because she’s the cutest.

While movies are made from just such romantic notions (and let’s face it, sometimes a lot less plot to work with), they’re only halfway there.   Real romance happens when all that beauty and lavish outward expression has been joined by the mysterious glue of real life.

When he holds your hair while you puke up your real guts.

When you fight over trivial things. Hard.

When you don’t wash your hair and you don’t think he’s funny and you’re being a bitch heifer and he laughs at you and tells you to text when you want to act like an adult.

When you are tenderly unfazed by a glimpse of a well-hidden weakness.

When you accidentally revealed more than you meant to about your heart (#ohcrap).

When he talks about Jesus  and his dreams and plans and you think you’re going to have to take a chair.




This, dear Daughter, is Bible.  We are the bride of Christ.  He plans the grand gestures, the daily surprises and endures with us through our sin-sickness.  He waits while we clue up.  His heart is squeezed to the bursting point with pride and pleasure in who we are before we know He’s even interested in us. He’s captivated by our joy and our way of doing life.  He laughs at our jokes.  He hums our favorite song.  He loves the look on our faces when He shares His plans with us.

His timeline remains excruciatingly beyond our control.  He’s waiting too.


He’s waiting, too.


But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  James 1:4 NKJV




*If you’re planning this, stop. Right now. Call me and I’ll explain the finer points, but this will get you started:  1) If she has any grace, she won’t tell you, “no”, in front of thousands of people, even if she should.  2) You aren’t motivated enough to come up with your own plan, but are using an out-of-the-box plan.  Have a little confidence in yourself.  3) This is not neutral turf.  If you aren’t willing to take the risk of coming off your own territory to build this new “we”, she should say, “no,”  but here she is (see point number 1), so she can’t.  Yes, this all applies even if she is the most rabid baseball fan ever, and a raging narcissist. If she’s at the game with you, that’s SO MUCH FUN, but she needs an proposal she can proudly tell her daughters about, and they’ll look at you like a freaking rockstar and not settle for anything less in their own lives.

~end rant~



Weak Knees

Look out.

There’s a seismic shift.

There’s a thermal lift.

You’ll stumble or you’ll fly.

Worship while you cry*.


Humans prefer something to hold on to.  Maybe because we don’t know what to do with our hands.  Maybe because we’re afraid we’ll fall.  Maybe because we always think we’re the driver and need to hold the wheel.  It is the illusion of control, in every case.  You might hold the mic, the wheel, or their hand.  But.  You are never, ever, in control of what happens next.


Li’l Girl, Can’t dance.

Quit tryna lead.

Stand still a minute.

Get lost in it.

Let Him worry about the beat.


Relinquishing control of the next moment.   Is terrifying.  But like a roller coaster.  Heartracing.  Visceral.  Delightful…  Addictive.


It’s not the sweetness that makes you.

Weak in the knees.

It’s the fighting against the beauty.

Disbelieving that He wants to give you.

The desires of your heart.


We don’t drop the reins, because we are more intelligent than the horse.  We don’t take our hands off the wheel, because the car can’t choose a direction for itself.  In relationship with God there is no control instrument.  Much as we’d like that.  We couldn’t handle Him, if we wanted.  When I stop trying to drive, He takes me further, faster.  It’s a thrill ride.






*many years ago, a worship leader pointed out that sometimes crying could be an expression of worship. (Not that single, sexy tear.  Ugly, snot-smearing crying.) I was so relieved.  Because I often cried through entire worship services when I wasn’t sad or angry and didn’t know why, this explanation liberated me.








Phenomenon: Eighteen

Several months ago, I overheard a casual comment by a mother of a boy man, who was going to play in a card tournament at the mall that weekend.*

“…But he’s 18 and I can’t tell him what to do anymore.”

Wait, what?

Initially, my thought was, “Is he paying fair market room and board rates to live in your house and eat your food? Does he wash his own clothes and do his fair share of the vacuuming, dusting, mopping and preparation of the aforementioned food?”

I decided he probably was.  He’s a homeschooled boy man, after all.  And almost all homeschool families are vastly superior to ours.

But the thought lingered.

If the parent had objected to public card playing when the child was 17, they could have made a public scene and “punished” the child.  Mall security would have hesitated to become involved.  A call to the police,(when one knows where one’s child is, what they are doing– a legal activity, who they are with, and that they were not being harmed) may have resulted in a stern lecture to the parent.

Now, at 18, the parent can decide no longer to support a child who plays cards publicly.  A respectful child, who knows that their wanton behavior is displeasing to their parents, can pack his personal effects, place a deposit and first & last month’s rent on an apartment, pay deposits on utilities and internet service and have their cell phone removed from their parent’s name and placed in their own with the bill forwarded to their new address.  They can buy their own food.  They are free to purchase their own mode of transportation, be that an automobile and insurance, or a bus pass.

I am assuming this person, who cannot be told what to do, works a job.


This dear mama is just one of many mothers of 18 year-olds, I’ve talked to in the last year.  I heard the, “I can’t tell him/her what to do,”

A lot.

The other day, the girls were shopping with a friend who encouraged them to buy swimsuits they, themselves, were not comfortable being seen in, by saying, “You’re 18. You can buy it and your mom can’t tell you what to do.”

It struck me entirely differently.

Most of the people I’ve heard say this, have been homeschool mommies worrying over stuff they don’t realize is benign in the extreme.  Traditional school moms say it, as well, I just don’t have a strong research sample of these.  But this time, it was a homeschooled young lady, telling my kids to throw off the teaching of their parents and their own personal standards to demonstrate their legal prerogative to “flaunt” what they “got”.  Her parents encourage her to flaunt hers and require her to be in by dark.  She is unfailingly obedient, endlessly sweet, and doesn’t turn 18 until later this year.

Suddenly, it became clear.

I know dozens of young adults who have TOTALLY thrown off their home training.  Not just their religion, but their manners and poise (poise is an old-fashioned word for knowing the right behavior for the right situation and applying that knowledge.).  We are informing them, when they turn 18, that we are finished with them.  They can ruin their lives and we have nothing to do with it.  They are informing each other that at 18, it is imperative that the guidance of their upbringing is to be thrown off like a soiled garment (or merely one that completely covers their butt crack).

What could possibly go wrong?

I certainly don’t comment from a holier than anyone position.  I am still waiting for my freaking medal for getting through years 12-15.  I can, and do, tell my about-to-be 19 year-olds some things that they will (and will not) do.  I have offered to take them to the grocery for an Apartment Guide.  I have invited them to chip in for a g@#$%mn maid.

They, in turn, have acknowledged, that they do NOT want me to check-out on them now, when things are getting more difficult BECAUSE they have more freedom.  And the paperwork in adulthood is a bitch lot.

I think the idea that, “They are 18; you can’t tell them what to do,” originated in the idea that people should be allowed to grow up and be adults and accept responsibility for themselves–an idea with which I heartily concur.  However, the term may have been co-opted as an excuse for parent of the young person who hasn’t mastered five languages and four musical instruments and struggled to decide whether to go pre-law at Harvard, pre-med at Cornell, or double major in Jazz Studies and Orchestral Conducting at Julliard.

I really don’t know.

But I do know that a lot of young people feel very “empowered” by what looks very, very much like free fall.  Tune into the TV news, or the news headlines on your phone.

I can tell my about to be 19 year-olds what to do, and they can choose to do it or not.  They have been reporting in with some very poignant, “Mom, you were right,” events.  We have discussed how pleasant life will be around here, when the not-piles-of-money is reduced by having to clean up “mistakes”.

As parents, we are to raise them to adulthood.  Not get them most of the way there and wash our hands of them and their buffoonery.

I hear that parenting is a life span job (not supporting big babies, who won’t pull their own weight, but presence as a reference and an unconditional supporter). The greatest people I know acknowledge their family and their upbringing as vital to their lives, yet the culture-at-large, seems to reflect, “You’re 18; no one can tell you what to do,” as orthodoxy.



*This mom was stressed out and this young man is going to be ragingly successful (the girls had classes with him and count him as a good friend.  Someone they admire.).  I merely use this as the example, because it was THE day that this phrase stuck with me.  I had probably heard it 100 times before. And card playing is a good neutral example, because it can be positive or negative, unlike some other choices that can only lead to negative outcomes.




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