Family dinner hour? Check!
High-tech car seats? Got 'em!
Unconditional love? No problem!
We even up the ante a bit by throwing in some extras: homeschooling, say, or an organic diet, or maybe a solid religious upbringing. Anything, actually, to increase the odds that we won't become one of those families visited by horrific misfortune. And, to further deny the crap shoot that is childrearing, we look for ways that those other parents - the unfortunate ones - may have messed up.
"What do you expect? The kids were home alone after school every day."
"That kid played too many video games/watched too much TV/texted her friends all night."
"They're not Catholic/Jewish/Evangelical (circle one), like us."
Oh, the list of how other parents have obviously screwed up goes on and on. You see, we need to reassure ourselves that we are in control, that we will not become the next poster family for Kids-Gone-Wrong. We need to protect our illusions of invincibility, even when doing so translates into a lack of compassion for our fellow parents, a refusal to acknowledge our common frailty in the face of the vicissitudes of this earthly life.
But our illusions of control are just that - illusions. True, they give us the courage needed to bear children and to send them out into a world where anything can happen. They give us hope that we can prevent the unthinkable. But these illusions also spare us from facing a discouraging truth: sometimes, despite our best efforts, we cannot save our own child from himself.
*******************Henry Louis Granju was a beautiful child, a loved child. He was a drug addict, yes; but first, he was MamaPundit's cherished son - a little boy who lit up his parents' world with his smiles, later an older brother adored by his younger siblings. And now, he is dead. There will be no recovery from, no reconciliation for his struggles of the previous 4 years. There will be no happy ending. His is an unfinished story, leaving behind anguished regrets made more painful by the happy memories of a little boy who loved and was loved in return.
For 4 years MamaPundit was immersed in the maelstrom that living with a troubled teen produces - the constant fear for his safety, the self-doubt, the daunting task of finding help for a problem she never dreamed a child of hers would face. She is haunted by the belief that there was something she missed, some way she could have prevented her son's death. On top of that is shock: the shock that her Herculean efforts on her son's behalf have been rendered - cruelly, abruptly - irrelevant by her son's death. At long last the maelstrom has ceased; but it has been replaced by a desolate emptiness rather than by the return of the child she loved.
Please pray for her peace of mind; and pray for H's siblings, including the unborn child MamaPundit is carrying. And perhaps, in honor of her suffering, each and every one of us can try to be a little kinder to whomever we meet today - because we just don't know who else among us may have been similarly sucker-punched by the loss of that illusion of control.