One of our younger neighbors moved yesterday afternoon. Right after school. No notice to any of us (our dead-end street provides extra “community” for those who live on it). What a shock. Then the phone started to ring.
“It’s because her just-15 year-old-daughter slept with another boy last night.”
“This is really sad. Moving won’t solve that girl’s problem.”
“I guess her mom was at her wit’s end.”
“Does she think there won’t be any boys where she’s moving to?”
My heart is still saddened. We, the neighbors and trying to be friends, have seen this coming for several years. Single Mom struggling to raise two children, who lost her job and tried to find anything to bring in a few dollars. As a 12-year-old, M. started to wear more make-up and revealing clothes, but she was still a child, seeking adult approval and looking for ways to “fit in” with the older neighborhood girls. Thirteen was somewhat a blur. M “disappeared” from our doorstep, from waving to us as we drove down the lane, from playing with her baby brother in the yard. Fourteen and the boys started to be seen. A sullen attitude instead of a smile and wave. At first we saw M and a boy walking and holding hands. Then a boy would arrive while Mom was at work. A neighbor-friend spoke quietly to Mom and offered to have M. come to her house after school. Mom chose to “take away M’s privileges.” Other kids in the neighborhood reported that M was “sneaking around” with boys. Then a needy boy arrived and Mom allowed him to move in for a while. More boys. And then a pregnancy that was terminated. More make-up, more “attitude.” And perhaps the final straw, another “sleep-over.”
I don’t know what else we could have done to try to provide support for this challenged family. Invited to gatherings, food taken to them, verbal observations of concern. Through it all, M continued to fall further from us. Or was it that she fell more into the need for ???????
What I do know is that M is the SYMPTOM of the problem. She is NOT the problem. It is both fear and hopelessness that drive people (of all ages) to self-destruct. It is never easy to see, much less endure.
I wish/I hope/I pray that someone with authority in this girl’s new path will see a frightened child who has given up on herself. And then find a way to help understand that “God doesn’t make garbage–human’s do.” She is a lovely child who needs our help. Mom is a nice woman–who needs our help, but seems to be unaware of it. Running away is not the answer. Oh, I do hope that they will stop running and look at what is really THE PROBLEM.
Be gentle with your children and yourself.