If I had a dollar for every time I had to hear my children petition for me to change my mind to let them go or do something I’d be loaded. Sound familiar? There seemed to always be some party, sleepover or activity that always found it’s way into my peace of mind. I tried to always stand firm but sometimes I caved. I’m not sure if it was their sweet little voices or my pure exhaustion that was the problem but there certainly was a problem.
I remember Jerrell’s senior year of high school like it was yesterday. As we got closer to graduation the events began to pile up and I was doing everything to manage them and my other kids who of course were completely on their own pages. At the end of the year there was that annual senior day at Kings Dominion that kids have gone to since I was in high school. The problem with her going was that her school didn’t take the students – they had to drive themselves. My initial answer was no. I held up every flag I had to no avail. She literally woke up asking could she go and was determined to ask until my answer changed. Well, she won. Against my better judgement I allowed her to get in the car with her friends and head south. She would check in periodically so I was happy about that but they still had to journey home and that’s when it all went down hill.
Jerrell’s and her friend called to say they were headed our way but needed to know what exit to take to avoid the beltway. As I told them I suddenly heard the girls scream and the car roll and tumble literally. The phone went dead and I remember standing frozen in my kitchen, more helpless than I had ever felt in my life. I prayed and asked for God’s mercy then walked into the family room and calmly said to Darrell, “Jerrell was just in an accident”. He said how do you know and I replayed in my mind and heart the complete horror of what I had just witnessed. He called his brother and jumped into action. I kept praying and dialing, hoping she’d answer. Finally an unfamiliar number showed up on my phone. All I could do was pray that the voice on the other end was my child….. and thank God it was. She was hysterical but alive. She climbed out of the sunroof but cried as she explained her friend was alive and well but trapped by her seatbelt. Darrell and I stood listening to her story ready to figure out the fix not knowing how complicated things were about to get. As they drove a bolt of carpet fell off the back of the truck in front of them. They swerved to avoid hitting the carpet which caused the car they were driving to roll, 3 times to be exact. What we didn’t know was that Jerrell was the driver, why she was driving I still don’t know. The kids had minor injuries, her girlfriend a broken collar bone and Jerrell had glass fragments in her arm but we were alive and we were thankful. This story led me to understand the importance of every decision I’d make going forward.
I had to tell myself that I wasn’t here to be a friend to them but a leader and protector. How could I have been either if I wasn’t the one in charge? The funny thing is, I still remember every yes that should have been no, not just this story. You will to if you don’t have them already. I will not live in condemnation but will remember those times as moments of growth. I choose to stand strong and tell them how the story should have gone so they can exercise the same with their own children. We may not always get it right but what we will do is let them know we are always on the same team and love them more than they could ever know.
Stand strong….and when in doubt, just say no. You’ve got this!