Brace yourselves for the ride, folks. There are lots of twists and turns up ahead.
When I picked up the girls on Christmas day, they wanted to know when I would bring them back. I wasn't sure how to answer that because I was hoping that they would decide to stay. Lindsey demanded that I take them back on the 1st, and I reminded her that we had agreed to seek the Lord's will and do what He leads us to do. Sarah remained silent.
Everything that took place from that moment on gave me every indication that I would have to stand firm on my convictions, yet I wavered. As the year drew to a close, the pressure was mounting, and I was stalling for time.
Meanwhile, back on the roller coaster...
For reasons I ain't saying, I called the girls' dad to inform him that he needed to have a talk with the 19-yr-old boyfriend of our 16-yr-old daughter. I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that even if you aren't a parent, you were once a teenager, and you may have already drawn your own conclusion about what prompted me to make that call. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon. Nonetheless, I had to draw mister man a picture. He admitted that he'd had misgivings about allowing her to date him, but he also said that he had warned them about what would happen if they ever got caught in the act. Then he gave the boy permission to come to the house when he wasn't home. Does anyone else see a parenting award in his future? Maybe he's holding out for a grand-parenting award. Oh wait. Is there an ostrich award?
Later that same evening, he called Lindsey, and I could hear him screaming at her, but it wasn't about the boyfriend. It seems he had just seen the phone bill. I was slightly amused at first, since it wasn't the first time she had exceeded her minutes. Last time, it wasn't all that big a deal since I was paying the bill. Now that it's his bill, it's not just a big deal, it's an ordeal. So much so, in fact, that he asked her if she wanted him to blow his brains out. She hung up on him, and Sarah said "If he kills himself, it'll be your fault." Oh my word.
He called back to continue the tirade, and she handed me the phone. I asked him what he'd have done if Lindsey had said yes. I told him that he needs to stop the emotional manipulation, aka ABUSE, because now Sarah is worried that he would actually carry out his threat. He then called Sarah to reassure her that he wouldn't do anything drastic and apologized for upsetting her.
And here's what baffles me: They still want to go back. Lindsey is willing to endure all manner of degradation just to see her boyfriend. Her dad told her it's fine if she doesn't come back, and he doesn't care if her mother beats her (she doesn't, though it is tempting). Ain't love grand? Sarah doesn't realize the effects of witnessing that kind of behavior. She's learning to make excuses, to blame the victim, to bury her head in the sand and pretend that all is well.
Here's where the boyfriend redeems himself. Lindsey told him about her dad's threats to throw him jail or kill him if he came anywhere near her. He encouraged her to stay here. It appears that self-preservation may have been his motive, initially, but his concern for her well-being was very much a contributing factor. He reminded her that the braces on her teeth would not adjust themselves and that she needs to stay where she knows she'll be taken care of. He even said he would move here if he had to. She began asking me if he could stay with us until he saves up some money to get his own place. (Yes, dear, I did fall off the turnip truck just yesterday. Why do you ask?) Boy howdy.
Oh. He also apologized to me, declared his love for her, and said that he would respect the boundaries I set for her. No, he isn't moving here, but I've got no problem with allowing him to see her as long as he understands that there will be constant supervision.
At this point, Sarah still hadn't spoken up about not wanting to stay. I understood her to say that she was thinking about staying. Then their dad called me and assured me that the girls would hate me for the rest of their lives if I made them stay here, and that they would never ever want to see me again.
Here's where we all throw our hands up and scream.
This ride ain't over yet.