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Tindell Baldwin »

Parent by Numbers

Family is a tricky thing, you are bound to love people you don’t always get along with and so often we miss the joy that is family. Family has been downplayed and thrown away, convincing us that a relationship with the people that should matter the most isn’t really that important. We are a selfish society, caught up in what we can get. We don’t like that family requires love without something in return, at least I didn’t. My family gave me nothing in my eyes except a rule book to follow and brothers that annoyed me. I spent years abusing their love but when I changed they were waiting with open arms, they loved me even though they got nothing in return. After we mended our relationships I spent years trying to make up for lost time. I would come home from college for every birthday party, sick day, and family event I could. When my mom was hurting I rushed to her aid and when my family was in trouble I rallied the troops to fight through it. When my husband and I got married I had a hard time leaving a cleaving because I was so invested in repairing the damage. My family became my world and I couldn’t believe I had missed out on these relationships for so long.

When I was in the midst of my rebellion Satan had me convinced that my parents were the problem. I had to have a scapegoat because if I could see reality, if I could see that I was the problem then I might stop self destructing. I was the problem though. My parents did nothing but parent and for that I hated them. I wanted my freedom which I’m sad to say at sixteen isn’t yours to grasp. I wanted them to let me make my mistakes and stay out of my life. I wanted them to let me drown. I was one of the lucky ones though, my parents cared. Most of my friends parents knew we drank, they knew we were having sex, they knew we did drugs, but they didn’t care. The weird thing about being a teen is that you want someone to give you boundaries because you know deep down that you are hurting yourself, you know that this hurts and if you parents care enough to discipline then they love you. If they love you enough to make the hard decision then they care about your well being. If they punish you even when you kick and scream then you mean something to them. Parents like to think they are doing kids a favor by giving them “room to make mistakes” but that is selfishness with a fancy title. My friends whose parents wanted to be “cool”, the houses we’d drink at, the parents who smoked with us, I’m sad to say their kids never came out of it. Their parents sent a clear message early on that they didn’t care. They sent the message that your life is not worth the headache that it takes to parent.

I was lucky, my parents cared. My parents tried desperately to parent in any way that they could. They did everything to send the message that my life was worth more than this. I deserved more than I was allowing myself. My friends could see that. They often joked that they wanted my parents to adopt them, they loved being at my house and I couldn’t see it. I was so deceived that I couldn’t see the greatest gift God had given me.

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  • lea marshall - thank you for these words. i have read this blog post (through tears) 5 times in a row tonight.

    we are in the middle of trying to parent like your parents. i wish they could show up at my house, hug me, and tell me to stay the course. but this post is the next best thing.ReplyCancel

  • Tindell Baldwin - Lea,
    I can only imagine what you must be going through. I pray my story gives you encouragement and hope that your heart needed! What you are doing is worth it, hard but worth it.

    God bless,

    • lea marshall - the fact that the Lord led me to your blog is enough for me to know that He loves me. He hears my prayers. and He is at work in my daughter’s life… just as He was at work in your life. your story gives me so much encouragement and hope! thank you for telling it… all the glory to the God who tells His story of love and grace on EVERY page of His Word and in the lives of His beloved children.ReplyCancel

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