Recently, I heard the story of a couple that had gotten married after each had recovered from a painful and messy divorce. Each had been betrayed by a cheating partner and their separate episodes had really sucked the life and love out of them for a number of years. When they met and fell in love, and came together in a new union, they felt incredibly blessed and thankful. Each had young children from their first marriage. In time the families blended and made the necessary adjustments to get along, all except for their teenage boy. The divorce and broken family relationship caused him to rebel, to pull away. His rebellion was not going to be controlled no matter what. After several years, his behavior was threatening to tear the whole family apart, and his mother and step-father had no choice but to essentially remove him from their lives by sending him away to live with his father. Sometimes, even though we give all of our love to a child, we cannot fix something that is broken within them no matter how hard we try.
This story helped me to realize how lucky I am to have the relationship that I have with my own daughter. As she is a new teenager, we have both been struggling with new aspects of how we relate to one another. It is natural for our children to develop their own interests and lives, to keep more from us than ever before. To begin pulling away from us noticeably. Now, I realize that my daughter's pulling away is not an act of rebellion, but a necessary part of the maturing process. I also realize that one day she will leave to go out on her own and I will have to let go. However, in contrast to sending a child away with issues and a broken spirit, I hope to keep her on course to leave in strength and love.