Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hug your children tonight

What do you do when your precious little girl tells you she and Friend A went to the guidance department on behalf of Friend B? Friend B's parents are having serious marital troubles, divorce is supposedly pending. Friend B has been threatening suicide. When she explained the situation to me, I just stopped and held her tight, holding her warm, living self tightly against me. Luckily, she's affectionate and she snuggled right in. My heart just ached for her and all of her friends who have tried to cope with this for weeks on their own.

The thing is, Hubby and I have noticed Anime Queen -our precious little girl- has steadily gotten paler and paler and hasn't awakened feeling rested, she's been eating less, etc. over the last few weeks. Finally, last week we started pushing her to take multivitamins and to go to bed earlier in the evening. Initially we attributed this to her academic workload and the stress of a major paper she has been working on.

I feel guilty that I never asked her what else was going on with her and her friends. That is: I've asked her about her buddies and what's going down with them and how they've been, and she's nearly always given us the usual teenage response- single words, mostly things like: fine, ok, busy, etc. Not a hint that she and one or two others were carrying such a serious burden on their young shoulders. As commonly happens, I wonder if I should have, could have, ought to have..

Finally, tonight I called College Student to make plans for this coming weekend. After we chatted she wanted to say hi, so I handed her the phone and told her to be quick about it since it was late and she needed to go to bed. So first thing she says to him is, "Do you remember that situation we discussed? Well. I have more info now." To which I told her she'd need to explain to me too.

Initially she told me it didn't involve anyone in the family but she couldn't break someone's confidence. I reminded her that a) she'd already told College Student and b) if a friend of her was hurt, threatening to hurt someone or do something dangerous she had a moral obligation to tell an adult who could help Friend B. I told her she didn't have to tell me or dad if she felt uncomfortable, but a guidance counselor or one of our priests or someone else..I didn't want her to feel even more pressure than she already does, but I wanted to be sure she shares her burden.

That's when she told me what I've told you. I'm unsure how much detail I need, other than the basic facts I've outlined here. I'm unsure what else she herself can do except continue to try and be a friend to Friend B. Unsurprisingly, Friend B is mad at her and the Friend A. Although, given the nature of teenagers and depression Friend B's sharing of such a heavy and serious burden and simultaneously expecting their silence is equally to be expected and yet is also impossible.

Thank you for listening.

No comments: