“Looking back on it now, was there anything I did at the time that you think was either helpful or harmful in getting you through the challenges you faced after your arrest?” That’s the question I asked my child as I prepared to record Episode 6 of Unyielding. The episode takes a closer look at thoughts and feelings children experience as they go through the court process.
After thinking for a second, they looked at me and said, “You were my anchor.”
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to hear those words. I felt a flood of emotions, but I maintained my composure because I didn’t want anything to get in the way of hearing more.
And then, “I couldn’t have done it without you, Mom.”
Here’s what I know… there are so many times being a parent can feel like a thankless job. No one seems to care that we’re up all hours of the night, losing sleep from worrying about them. Or about the effort, it takes to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met. The care we put into making sure they feel loved and supported. The time that goes into tracking grades, driving to activities, or that it doesn’t seem to matter that we hate giving out consequences just as much as they hate being in the position to receive them.
During the teen years, our babies, who once had a never-ending supply of love and hugs for us, morph into sullen, sometimes entitled teenagers, and it’s hard not to think it will be an eternity before you ever see some appreciation again. So those five words, “Mom, you were my anchor,” were enough acknowledgment to make the cup in my heart overflow. And I believe with everything inside me that those words were said to me so that I could tell them to you.
⚓An anchor serves many purposes. It uses strength and security to hold a ship in place. When it’s attached to the bow, it keeps the boat from turning sideways and being overwhelmed by the waves. Anchors can also prevent a ship from drifting due to changes in the wind or current. When they’re lifted slightly out of the water, they help the boat move forward towards safe passage. Used as a verb, the word anchor means to secure firmly in position or to provide a firm basis or foundation.
You are your child’s anchor—the one who holds them in place with strength and security. Though the winds and currents push and pull them in different directions, your love stays constant. You help reduce the speed at which they drift. You slow them down. You pull them in. Although they may do everything to remove themselves from what holds them back, the truth is they still need you. They’ll always need you, the way a ship will always need its anchor.
You don’t always have to get it right. Lord knows I messed up along the way more than once. At times I was impatient and irritable. I felt frustrated and depleted. There were times I didn’t show up the way that I knew I should because, at that moment, I had nothing left in me to give. I battled anger and disappointment. I was human, but… I did the best I could at the time.
Your child got themselves into this situation, but as they are dealing with the natural consequences of their actions, they still need you to believe in them. They still need you to remind them of the goodness that you see in them.
I read a quote that said, “What is sanity, after all, except the control of madness.”
Do your best to control the madness by choosing to be the consistent voice in your child’s life, reminding them that they are more than this mistake.
P.S. Find our podcast Unyielding on the Podcast tab above or your favorite podcast platform.