A family is a hard thing to raise. So many different personalities all under one roof is enough to drive anybody crazy. We can’t even stand the people that we work with for more than 8 hours a day, but we go home and spend the majority of our week with people who might be as different from us as night and day. Amazingly, we are able to relate to these people (mostly because we raised them, but partly because we love them) even if we don’t always agree with their choices in life. Raising teenagers? It pretty much goes like this…
My son was suffering from an acute case of testosterone poisoning (aka being a typical teenage boy). He hated us. He hated his siblings. He hated school. He hated life. He didn’t believe in the concept of having a future. About the only thing keeping him breathing was his guitar.
Then along came Jessie. Absolutely gorgeous girl, talented (they met because he needed someone to sing the songs he was writing), smart as heck (she got into college a year early), and just a joy to have around. To be honest, my wife and I fell in love with her long before our son did. He had to be smacked in the head a bit to even realize he was smitten.
When he fell, he fell hard. And luckily, it was the same for her.
Now like I said, Jessie is a wonderful girl, so we would have loved her for her own merits regardless. But it’s the effect that she’s had on our son that made us fall in love with her.
At first after they started dating, my son was still a typical a-hole teenager. But Jessie must have seen something in him that we never could. He was still a jerk around his family- but the first time she was around to see it, she called him on it. When he did poorly in school, she asked him how he expected to get into college and support a family (implying with her, I suspect). So he started getting better grades.
When he got frustrated with all of the social crap that goes down in high school, she got him to realize it was basically worthless drama that wasn’t worth it. And so on, and so on… Little by little, she turned him into a human being.
The culmination of all this came one day when Jessie was over at our house for a family dinner. He stood up and said that he realized he had been a real tool for a long time, and that he was sorry, and that he knew he had to be a better person. Then he thanked Jessie for giving him a reason to be a better person, and for being someone worth being better for. Hugs and tears all around. And then he made good on his promise.
Today, he’s a son, and a friend, who I can be proud of. Frankly, if Jessie had never come into the picture, I doubt he’d be alive.
They’re still together junior year of college, and they got engaged a few weeks ago. At their wedding I plan to say this: “The old cliche’ about ‘not losing a son but gaining a daughter’ doesn’t apply because Jessie brought back to us the son we thought we had lost, and we can’t ‘gain’ a daughter because she has been that and more to us for close to seven years.”
This family was incredibly lucky to have their teenage son come to an impressive realization so early on! Most of us have to wait until the kids move out to get this kind of reaction! In this case, his high school sweetheart may have actually saved his relationship with his parents! It can be a hard transition from teenager to adult, but luckily for this guy, he had the support from many other people to do it successfully! How sweet!
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