When I was growing up, I vividly remember my parents telling me, “wait until you become a parent” when I would do something they didn’t like. Of course, I never understood at that moment what that meant until I actually became one.

Griff-Observ-3.23.13-O&K-101In high school and a long time after that, I used to get myself into all sorts of trouble. No matter what, though, it could never top the things my brother did. My brother, who I love so much and is my best friend, has now almost completed his 10th year in prison.

My parents were very strict with us. When my brother turned 18, he went out of control and did everything he couldn’t do, including drugs. I remember my mom crying almost every night, wondering when my brother would come home. When he did, he would be there to sleep, steal things, then go right back out again. He fooled my parents every time he came back. And every time, they fell for it.

I used to fight with my parents about my brother and the decisions they made with him. They always used to say, “you just won’t understand until you become a parent yourself.”

Now that I’m a mom, I have all kinds of fears about what should or could or would happen with my son. Having him is the best thing that’s ever happened in my life, but at the same time, the fears and pain I know I would go through if anything horrible ever happened to him is too much for me to even imagine.

Now I know exactly what my parents meant when they used to say, “wait until you become a parent.” Decisions are definitely hard. Anybody can tell you what is right or wrong according to them but reality is, your child is your child and you are the person responsible for raising them into the person he will be in the future.

I know my parents did what they thought was best for us at the time, but unfortunately it all turned out wrong. I know I would absolutely die inside if I knew my son had to go through what my brother goes through now. If anyone else I love ever has to go through it. From the stories my brother tells me, “survival of the fittest” is exactly that.

I’m a parent now and have no more waiting to do. Now it’s my turn to help my son become a good man. Sometimes children can take their experiences learned during childhood and apply them to situations in their own lives. I do have resentments, but now I can take all those feelings and harness them into something good so that my son, my love, my boy, would never have to feel them.