Always a parent…

Years ago I heard someone say that when you become a parent, you always stay a parent…and your heart remains vulnerable.

That’s true–and perhaps even more so when you are a grandparent.

It’s been hitting home the last day or two…again.

Our 13-year-old grandson has had lots of issues he’s had to deal with in his short life, many of them beyond his control. There have been losses of beloved family members…dealing with severely dysfunctional biological family that he only sees a couple of times a year (but still has to deal with)…wondering if God hates him…and all the issues that go along with becoming a teenager.

Yesterday, as school started, everything came to a head again. He has learned some coping skills–but when he is overwhelmed, he doesn’t know where or how to start using them, and so he resorts to more dangerous ways of trying to deal with the emotional pain…ways that have resulted in his going to a residential psychiatric center.

It hurts.

It hurts when you see your grandchild in pain–building a shell around himself for protection, even though you know that it’s only when he will allow someone in that he can get the help he needs…and wondering if he will do that this time. When you know what a wonderful, beautiful, caring, gentle and vulnerable child is in there…how can you help him cope?

And it’s not just him.

You know that his father is hurting as well…angry, scared, uncertain… My heart breaks for him as he struggles with knowing what the best decision is for his son–how to help him understand.

You just never stop being a parent…