You don’t know hell until you’ve seen your kid walk through the flames without you.
You just don’t. There is nothing on earth that can prepare a parent for some things. Things that let you know: they are on the downward slide, and the smell of sulfur is creeping up, coming for your baby.
And you never know. You never see it coming.
You’ll spend a lot of time wondering. Wondering if you did know. Wondering if you (or somebody else) did see it coming. Wondering what you could have done differently/better/more of/less of. You just will. There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that yeah, you did see it coming. That yeah, you could have done a lot differently, done a lot better.
They’re right, but that doesn’t matter because they’re wrong.
They’re horrible for having an opinion, much less for expressing that opinion out loud. To you. Let’s be clear about that. Not one single person on this earth, regardless of their experience, their status as a parent, their age, their gender, their relationship to your child, is remotely qualified to have an opinion about how you handle it when your kid is dangling just out of reach of the thorns and the harpies. Go ahead, be angry about it. They don’t know you. They don’t know your kid. They don’t know where you’ve been separately or together. They don’t know one damn thing about how you feel. And you really, really, should not be put in a position to have to tell them any of that. They should just know.
Now, take a breath.
Because they mean well. It may be coming from a place of oh-my-god-so-none-of-their-fucking-business but 98.6% of the time, they mean well. They mean to be supportive, or understanding, or helpful, or even just kind. Does that make it suck less? No. Does that make it less uncomfortable? Nuh-uh. Does that make it any of their business? Nope. It is what it is, though. And they’ll have an opinion. And they’ll share it with you. They just will.
Fix your eyes on the important things. Worry about your kid; let the rest of it roll.