By Amber D.
It was early on a Monday morning. I was getting my children ready for school. My six year old daughter came up to me to get her hair done and out come the words that would forever change our family. “Mom, the babysitter is inappropriate when he babysits.” I was in shock. What do you even say to that? I am afraid I may not have had my finest parenting moment just then. The answers to the questions I asked were very wishy-washy. It seemed like I couldn’t get a straight answer. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. We had been friends with this family for years. We have known this boy since he was little. I couldn’t believe this boy we trusted would do this.
We only knew one truth in that moment. Something had happened to our children. We weren’t sure who did this or where it happened. We just couldn’t believe it was him. We were at a loss of what to do. Where do you go to find out information? Nobody really talks about this. There is no parenting manual. We talked to a couple of family members who had both had similar things happen. We talked endlessly together. We did the only other thing we could do. We asked Google. The only thing we could all come up with was to get our children into some sort of counseling to figure out what had happened.
It took a while to find a counselor who would see kids their age. After trial and error we found one who was willing to talk to them. The first meeting was the hardest of all. We learned that while things happened to all of my children, the worst happened to our daughter. We still don’t know the full scope of what happened. That will come in time when she is ready. We heard things that made us want to vomit. I personally left wanting to commit murder. Thank goodness for my wonderful husband for keeping me grounded. It helps that we hold each other back from doing things we wouldn’t come back from.
How do you handle this, you ask? It’s not easy. We blamed ourselves for a long time. We asked ourselves if maybe this wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t fallen into temptation and started drinking when we had made a promise with God that we wouldn’t. Perhaps we were too focused on ourselves and having the fun we “missed” by getting married so young. We were certain that we should have paid closer attention to our children; surely we would have realized that fighting over what to wear to school meant something was going on. We could go on and on. I was crying all the time when the kids weren’t around. I was raging and working through it. My husband was holding it in, dealing with it in his own way. It felt like we were going through this separately. Our family that we have worked so hard to have and build was falling down around us. Everything was spiraling out of control. We weren’t really going to church anymore. Our life was in turmoil.
One Sunday morning we decided we NEEDED to go to church. During our Sunday School class, the teacher was discussing free agency. Because of this lesson we came to the realization that everyone, good or bad, has free agency. This boy made a choice. It was a horrible choice, but now we choose how we go on from here. Every day is a struggle. We have to make the decision every day to rely on our Lord. We can pray for comfort. I pray for forgiveness for my murderous thoughts. We pray as a family to be stronger and more together. We try to read the scriptures together. We are not perfect, but we try. Through all of this we have realized that we need to go through this together. We need to be able to lean on each other and share our worries, hurts, and feelings.
Through my study I was reminded of Heavenly Father’s love for us and how we are never alone. I felt impressed to share this with her. The moment we had was amazing. I never realized how alone she felt. Even though we are all going through this, individually, we are going through separate things. I felt as if I was giving her a knowledge she was lacking. She has heard it her whole life, but in that moment, she came to know that during her whole ordeal she was never alone. Heavenly Father was holding her hand during it all. I can picture Him holding her hand weeping while another one of His children used his freedom of choice to do these horrible things. The peace and comfort on her face is something I will never forget. While it doesn’t change what happened, the knowledge that she is never alone helps.
We can’t even begin to imagine the full scope of the things our children are dealing with. We cannot fight their monsters for them. All we can do is be there to love and support them and do the things that will help them heal. Every day is still a struggle with all the feelings, fears, and worries we have. Our goal is to one day come to a place where we can forgive the young man for what he has done. It won’t happen right now. We have a long way to go. We can only pray that through going to church and doing the things the Lord asks we can find the peace and comfort we need to be able to forgive.