Just over thirty years ago I became a mother for the first time. I can clearly remember the emotions of that moment, which included a fullness of love, warmth and an undying determination to protect this beautiful child of mine. I was a relatively young mother, yet even in my inexperience you could have never convinced me back then that I would one day purposely allow one of my own fall.
Since that first sweet baby girl, I have had three more beautiful children. And with each one, those feelings have been the same; love, warmth and that undying determination to protect.
Yet here I am fighting against every fiber of that determination to protect. To protect my son against the evils of addiction; the homelessness, sickness and brokenness that inevitably follow when one is addicted to drugs. The love in this mother’s heart is crying out to catch him in mid-air. Just as any parent would when they toss their child in the air. Never would we dream of letting them fall, our intention is to catch them while they squeal and giggle.
The only thing is… I’m not the one who tossed him into the air. Addiction has done this to him. And it has tossed him to such a height that I could never safely catch him. Never mind the winds of relapse that consist of stealing, lying, and violence that would make it impossible for me to catch him safely. Those ingredients bring with them way too many consequences to those around me and to me as well. The absolute chaos it brings trying to find just the right place to get under him is exhausting and destructive to our family.
Letting him fall, and maybe even fall hard to the point of complete brokenness is not what I ever imagined I would have to do as a mother. But I am learning that sometimes the hardest things are truly the most loving of choices. Rescuing him as I have in the past has done nothing to promote his sobriety. My catching him in the fall, only seems to perpetuate the use, abuse and addiction. When we make it too comfortable for them, protecting them from the evils they must battle themselves, we do them a huge disservice.
Letting him fall, and letting that complete brokenness happen is the scariest best thing I can do for him.