I’ve written before about the relentlessness of parenthood. Even in the best of circumstances (whatever the hell that means), it’s stressful and has no off switch. On top of everything else, my husband and I have an additional handicap of being the stupidest parents ever. Which, by the way, doesn’t come with a trophy. I totally think there should be a trophy.
At any rate, we’re really damn stupid. Our 16 year old, who bestowed upon us the title of supidest parents EVAR, has mountains of evidence. And teeming pools of testosterone. And feelings as deep as the ocean. And horribly incomplete neural pathways (I’m not a psychologist, but I play on TV. Neural pathway probably isn’t the right term, but teen brains are, um, perplexing. Especially to me, because I’m the stupidest).
All this being the case, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised yesterday morning when my kid straight up left worship service, exited the church building, and walked home. Right after the passing of the peace, during which he had informed me that, “this is total bullshit” when I hugged him. All of this, of course, after a good half hour at home, before we even left, of him arguing his case of why he shouldn’t have to go.
He’s trying on atheism. And while it may surprise people in certain circles of my life, I don’t have an issue with that. I’m not worried about eternal damnation for his soul, or fiery bowels of hell; because I’m actually a heathen my own damn self and don’t worship a god who is a schmuck. And yet, making our kids go to church is a battle we’ve chosen. Loving son has informed us it is egregious on the same level as white people forcing native Americans to cut their hair and adopt Christianity. Hashtag eye roll. Sorry not sorry. It is what it is, because I said so, and all that other nonsense, son.
Side note: Clearly all that worrying I’ve done about whether or not my kids understand their privilege has been completely unfounded. The lad’s obviously got a perfectly healthy grasp on the concept of oppression, what with his being on the same level of native Americans and all. In his defense, we’ve received some REALLY oppressive messages at church of late. Things like ‘doubt is holy,’ ‘you are enough,’ ‘you and your wounded faith are welcome at the table.’
If you’re asking if this is really a battle worth picking, you’re frequently in some damn fine company. I find myself asking the same question every Sunday morning at 8am, when the teen rage hits full throttle.
I contend it is, and here are some of the reasons I’m telling myself:
- Kiddo doesn’t have a monopoly on doubt and anger. I’ve been dealing with a steady stream of both for something like the past six to eight weeks. Or maybe even 30 years. I dunno. It’s complicated. If I have to drag my cynical self to church, so does he. This is where you could also ask why I’m claiming it a requirement for myself to go to church. Insert shoulder shrug and blank stare here. I’m actually a teenager trapped in a 42 year old body.
- I believe people need a place where they can be broken. And I think that’s especially true for anyone sharing DNA with me. I do NOT believe this is something provided by just any ol’ church, but I generally feel our community of faith can deal with all the messiness that is the Holt family. Someday, I think my kids are gonna get that, and they might even be grateful.
- I believe in community. And I know Chris and I alone cannot provide our kids everything they need. I wish we could, because Jerod’s not the only one who’d like to sleep in on Sunday mornings. But we are WAY too screwed up. We need any and every available safety net.
- This. I don’t know where else to get this.
- And, finally, of course. Because I’m the stupidest. Which I can totally live with.