Most of us know the story of the prodigal son from Luke Chapter 15:11-32. If you don’t, stop right here, get a Bible and read it. Or, you can cheat and listen to the amazing Michelle Tumes song Please Come Back To Me
Now, the son I will describe was not prodigal. Not wasteful or reckless. Not extravagant or imprudent. He was just absent. He had a girlfriend.
When your teenager has a serious relationship, it is exciting and new. it is even better when you like the girl he is dating. Eventually, as the relationship blossomed I saw less and less of said son. That was rough on me in so many ways. I am not what you call a hover parent or helicopter parent, but I wanted my son back. I wanted dinner conversation and breakfast banter. I wanted to sit on the couch and watch a family movie with the last remaining child I had at home. I was sick and tired of him running through the door after work, taking a quick shower, grabbing a snack, then heading back out only to come home long after I went to bed.
When his two-year relationship ended with this lovely girl, I was reminded of the story in Luke. He was back like the prodigal son. And like the father in the story, I wanted to kill the fatted calf and dress him in the finest robe and shoes. But I also silently ached for him. I was once young and know the sting of breaking up.
If you are a parent faced with a similar situation, the best advice is to be there to listen only. Don’t ask a bunch of questions or find out who was at fault. Don’t say insensitive things like “There are plenty of other girls.” Take yourself out of the equation unless called upon for any advice. This is a time when silence is golden.
For the moment I have my breakfast banter, and fun conversations about school, world events, future goals and anything that he wants to bring up first. It is a joy and pleasure to hear him share with his father and me. I know he will date again. I know he will get serious again, but for now, I bask in the last bit of being the parent of a teenager.
Enjoy your children. it goes by in the blink of an eye.