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Laura on Episode 10: At The Table

The night we found out about what happened with Ryan and Bailey was so chaotic and I think I experienced almost every range of emotion. I was angry of course because I had just found out that a young man had hit my daughter hard enough to cause major bruising. I was scared because my sons were ready to confront him and I didn’t want them to get hurt. I was confused because I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. As a mom, we know the usual issues that we can expect with teenagers but I was not prepared for this. I wanted to handle this situation correctly but I wasn’t sure how. Thankfully, Todd got home and settled us down. I knew we had to contact Ryan and his parents and a text or a phone call didn’t seem to justify the gravity of the situation. When Todd hung up I had a pit in my stomach still. I was anxious to arrange a face to face meeting. I wanted to make sure they knew the whole story and I wanted us all to be there so there wasn’t any “he said/she said”.

When we arrived at their house the meeting started out fine. Ryan apologized and admitted that he went to far but then somehow the direction of the conversation changed and the parents seemed to be minimizing the situation. I can understand how we as parents want to protect our kids but I was very frustrated by the way they were questioning Bailey. Bailey started to shut down because she felt like she was being accused. As a result, Ryan returned to school the next day saying that Bailey blew the whole thing out of proportion. It was hard for Bailey to even go to school because everyone seemed to side with him and she was an easy target since she didn’t want to even talk about it, let alone defend herself. Her way of coping with it was to keep it inside which is why I quickly scheduled an appointment for her with the same counselor that Todd and I went to, Dr. Lopez.

Dr. Lopez was so wonderful with Bailey. She validated Bailey’s feelings and talked through the incident with her. She explained to her that anatomically, men are stronger than women, period. It is never okay for a male to hit a female hard enough to cause bruises, let alone pin her down on the ground and shove his knee into her chest so she couldn’t move. The fear that she felt for those few minutes was real; she should have been scared. She was obviously confused because it started out playful and she couldn’t understand why a switch seemed to go off inside him; she wondered if it was her fault.

In the end, I think that Bailey has become a stronger person through this ordeal. With God, all good things come, even when it doesn’t seem possible. My prayer is that Ryan has internally taken responsibility for his actions and he has gotten some kind of help. I pray that he will use this situation as a learning experience and never put his hands on a woman or a child the way he did to Bailey. I truly wish the best for him, he is God’s child too.

If Rex decides to leave I’m not sure how things will be around here. He is my baby boy (the youngest boy in the family and youngest triplet). I knew that of course someday he would leave, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so soon. My rational side says he needs to go; free college and chance to start adulthood debt free but my heart says every child is meant to be at home until 18 for a reason. I brought him into this word and I feel like I am breaking my commitment by cutting his term short. Unfortunately, sometimes in life we have to take risks but I am a self proclaimed worrier; what if this ends up being a mistake. I will pray about this and I have faith that in the end, the right choice will float.

On top of everything that has been going on, we are facing a huge milestone; our daughters are about to graduate from high school. I could probably write a book about all the feelings that I am feeling right now. Such a range of emotions; relief, joy, pride, worry(of course) and sadness. What happened to these little girls? Where has time gone? I was hopeful that when this time came I would be ready for them to leave and start their own lives but I haven’t gotten that feeling yet…,in my eyes they are still those 11 year old girls with braces learning how to be sisters; sharing their room and their dreams.