About 6 years ago, I was on a girl’s weekend with some of my female family members.  We spent a weekend at my cousin’s vacation home on an exclusive island off the coast of North Carolina (lucky her).  On that weekend, we took a boating trip (because, of course, what would a vacation home on an exclusive island be without a boat?), and many of the girls wanted to try their hand at tubing off the back.  There was an enormous tube that could easily hold 2 at a time, and it was attached to the back of the boat with a long rope.  Once the boat was in full gear, it was not unlike an amusement park ride…  except that you are not harnessed in.

Consequently, I was one of the least interested in taking this ride.

On the other hand, I am very susceptible to goading, and I received plenty of it from my cousins.  So I watched as, one by one, the girls jumped onto the tube, the boat would accelerate, and, like one of those bull rides in a honky-tonk bar, it would be a matter of seconds before they would go flying off the tube into the water.  Exhilarating for them (I assume, since they would jump right back onto the tube to try again), more and more anxiety-producing for me.  Finally, it was my turn, as I could take the nagging no longer, and I got myself situated.  I asked one of the veterans, “any advice?” and she said, “hang on, and don’t let go, no matter what.”

Sounds ridiculous, but those words were like a mantra as the boat sped up.  And hang on I did, I was the first and only to not fall off the tube for an entire ride.  To this day I remember the feeling:  arms aching, wind and water stinging my face, boat motor roaring through my ears, waves bouncing the tube, and me, like a popcorn kernel in the microwave bag, but I knew if I just “hung on, no matter what,” I would get to the other side.

Sometimes, when I think of parenting my children during this time of their lives (13 and 11), I am reminded of the feeling I had on that tube.  There is a barrage of issues, both large and small, when it comes to raising children.  It’s not a question of whether or not there will be waves, it’s a question of how often they hit, and how big the waves will be.

In recovery, it is often said that sometimes the only thing you can do in a given day is not drink, and that is a huge accomplishment.  I often feel the same way about parenting:  sometimes the best thing I can say about my job as a mother is that both kids have made it through the day intact, that they are in one piece and under the same roof as me when we go to bed.  And I feel as grateful for that as I do for not taking a drink that day.

I wrote last week of the struggles I am having with my daughter and her varsity basketball team.  This struggle, I assume, will continue for the rest of the season, and the best thing I can say about it is that it is a learning experience for both my daughter and me, and an opportunity to have a dialogue about her feelings.

Yesterday I faced an issue with my son: a problem with a fellow student, who lied to school authorities to keep himself out of trouble.  Now my son is being judged for doing something he did not do.  It would not be worth the time it would take to write out all of the nuances of this story, but where it becomes an issue for me is that at the end of it, my son was made to apologize for something he did not do, and the boy in question had no repercussions whatsoever.  In other words, they believed the troublemaker, and blamed the victim.

So here I sit, The Least Confrontational Person in the World, and now I have to take on the Principal of my son’s school.

Something tells me that this tube ride is going to take a bit longer than the one I described at the beginning of this post.  God willing, I will have the same feeling of excitement and accomplishment at the end.

I will, of course, provide an update when I have one.

Today’s Miracle:

As I was running this issue around in my mind in the car this morning, Katy Perry’s Roar came on the radio.  Which, of course, is not a miracle by itself, since that song comes on every 3 minutes.  But the opening words caught my attention, I had never listened to more than the chorus before:

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

I am taking this as a sign:  time to stand up and roar!

Posted on November 20, 2013, in Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Bravo for you! You do what you have to do to support your kids- like we all want to do but sometimes don’t deliver on. Go ahead and Roar!!! my dear. I will be cheering you on!

    CarrieK at Day #22


  2. The mother bear in me wants to roar over this one. It’s noble of your boy to want to shoulder the blame, and I’m equally struck by your restraint so far. I wish you the smoothest, easiest ride one can hope for. You got this!!

    Too funny on our matching references to roar today! I don’t think I ever really heard those lyrics either. My problem is not biting my tongue enough, but I’m learning. We will all get to the other side of the lake in our time.


    • I’m not sure there is ever anything smooth or easy about parenting children, it’s more like, clean up one spill, and go run over to catch the next one as it’s falling! That’s how it seems to be right now in my world, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. The saga does continue, I’m sure I’ll post about it next week.

      Still seriously laughing over the Roar references, though! Thanks for the well wishes!


  3. I have learned to not underestimate the power of Mama Bear, as Kristen mentioned. in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t one of those big things, but it’s good fodder for growth for you and your son. The greatest angering “trigger” for me was injustice, or the unfairness of life. A situation like your sons would normally put me in the red zone in .23 seconds. I think it’s because I used to be the kid holding the short end of the stick. I must have gotten tired of that and that anger seeped into me, rather than roar about it. it’s still with me, not as vicious, but it does peak my interest when stuff like that happens.

    What has helped me is realizing why it is that I get so riled up, and that hey, life is going to be unfair. “Good” guys often do finish last in some regards (I mean, our perception of good). Things are going to happen that make no sense and that in the scales of life, are unbalanced. I always seemed to be in classes with the ruffians and hooligans and taunters, never my friends who did well in school. I thought that was unfair. But perhaps it’s all meant to be. My tormentors taught me stuff, even though I didn’t want the lesson. Who knows, there might be a lesson in here, Josie. I just have no clue as to what it is.

    Anyway, it will work out. I am certain of it. Stick to your spiritual principles…they have served you oh so well 🙂

    Oh, by the way, thank you to you and Kristen for putting “Roar” in my head – a place it is certainly not welcome. Grrrrr….lol.



    • Oh. My. Goodness.

      I had not even considered that, because it’s been a while, but, me too, me too, me too! Thank you Paul, for this light bulb moment. Injustice used to send me into such a tailspin, and it really and truly escaped my mind because it’s been so long since that’s happened. And now, with both kids facing injustice within the span of two weeks… that’s what’s been eating at me!

      I really, really appreciate this comment, and the idea that there’s a lesson to be learned, even if I don’t particularly want to learn it. With both issues with my kids that is definitely true, and I am going to look at it from that angle and see if it helps.

      A million thanks, Paul!


  4. I love your tube ride description. Laughing here. Seems a few of us are on tubes this week. Hoping your ride with the principal goes well.

    reframe: I have to take on the principal (or) I get to stand strong for my son.


    • Oooh, love that reframe! I can replay the scene in my mind now, and I feel so much better about it! Thanks Lisa! I feel like I’m in crisis management mode with my children, and now I’m going to seek out a reframe so I don’t feel so stressed.

      Hope your ride for the week has ended without you getting thrown from your tube!


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