I’m sitting here, drinking an earl grey (the Picard way), and I’ve just been reminiscing about life as I usually do. Lately, I have been thinking about parenthood – for a number of reasons really. Some interesting discussions online, some heated debates in person, some observations in real life – all have been a factor to my recent thoughts.
I am of course, not a parent; but I’m getting to that point where when I see a baby my uterus skips a beat. I probably won’t have children for a few years at least, one factor being is that I am still single, so I don’t have to think about that for a while. Additionally, I feel like I’m a bit too young still, but would like to have kids hopefully before I’m 30 and my ovaries start rotting. But, you never know, you can’t plan for something like that.
I have no say as to how a parent should or shouldn’t raise their little children, lack of experience is why. I however, do have some insight as to how I think a relationship between a parent and their adult child should be (considering, well, that’s me right now). I have friends who have divorced parents, happily married parents, parents who are dating, parents who have passed away, and just about any other kind of household dynamic you can think of – and every single one of those people have a slightly different relationship with their parent. Some are like best friends, some are strained, some are somewhere in between.
One question I raised when I had coffee with a friend the other day: “When your child reaches a certain age, does that mean you stop being a parent – that all responsibilities toward that person have ended?” My answer is a firm: no. I believe that you will always be someone’s child, and when I’m older and have my own kids, they will always be my children. To me, a parent’s role is to shape and mould their child when they are younger, protect them as best as they can, and teach them how to be respectable adults. When those children are around my age, young adults, some parents forget that we still need a parent.
I pose a few questions for you:
Would you turn away your child, a young adult now but still and forever your own child, when they needed help? Would you disown your child if they came to you and told you they were homosexual? Would you kick them out of your house when they are still struggling to find their ground? Would you talk down to them if they expressed a difference of opinion? Would you make your child pay rent when they have no means to actually support themselves anyways?
There are no definite black and white answers – but as a young adult, I’m thankful my parents have never been a “yes” to any of those applicable questions for me. Every person has a very unique and different relationship with their parents, and everyone has their own opinion as to how that relationship should really function. To me at my current age, I believe that when your child is becoming an adult, they still need guidance, and help, and that as a parent you should help your child. They don’t need their hands held all the time, or you to 100% support them either; help can be a shoulder to lean on, a “care package” of food, a bed to sleep on when their roommates are being slobs, and a place to stay when they are trying to find a job. If you were 50 years old, and your 20-year-old child had an accident – would you not be there for support?
These are all just thoughts that go through my mind. And like I said, there are no black and white answers, because life is always a different shade of grey. I know who I am and what is right for me and my family, but who is to say that is correct? Everyone was raised with a different set of morals and different beliefs. It’s interesting to me how things can so drastically change because of who your child is. An example:
A few years ago, I would say my parents were very narrow-minded and “old school” in their beliefs about homosexuals – they were practically homophobic, and just didn’t consider them equal. I believe that has something to do with their age, and how it was “unacceptable” back in their time – or at least not as common in public. At my age, we are taught in schools, in the media, and just in general to accept someone. I don’t discriminate against someone for their sex, sexual orientation, race, or creed – it’s just not what I do, and I don’t think its acceptable in civilized society. People are who they are and I will accept them as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. Well, I have a number of friends who are homosexual, as well as some family. My parents have gotten into a number of disagreements about it. Something finally got through to my parents though – when I asked “If I were gay, would you disown me? Would you not want to come to my wedding?”. And they could have answered any way, but they didn’t answer me at all. A few years later, my parents are very accepting people, and I really think that it has to do with that realization that they would never disown me or hate me because of who I am, so why should they hate anyone else like that? But this isn’t about my parents accepting me if I was homosexual or not – it’s about loving me for everything I am, and even if they don’t understand, or even quite agree, they tolerate it and be supportive despite those things.
Overall, I believe a parent should have unconditional love for their children. If you would stop loving your child because they were gay, or because they were a different religion than you, or because they disagree with you, then I’m going to say that I believe you are a terrible person, and a terrible parent. You don’t have to like what your children are doing with their lives, liking and loving them are not the same thing. You can be disappointed sure, but you should always love them. That’s honestly my opinion, and I’m sorry if you don’t like it. They will make mistakes, they may disappoint you, they may do things with their life you don’t agree with – but if you begin to resent them for who they are, you are losing out on one of the best relationships you could ever have.
It doesn’t matter if your child is ten, twenty, thirty or forty – you are their parent. Nothing changes that, ever.
And with all these thoughts and realizations as to who I am, I want to say thank you to my parents – who will probably never see it on this website, because they don’t really get the whole “interwebs” thing (as my dad would say, that or “Myface”). So thank you mom and dad, for:
- Helping me so much with my bills when I was in college and I couldn’t afford a few things here and there.
- Allowing me to live here rent free, because you know that me paying you rent won’t pay my debt off any faster.
- Listening when I really need it – and treating me more like the adult that I am.
- Saying sorry when we fight, and forgiving me when I apologize.
- Giving me the freedom to make my own choices like an adult, and instead of telling me what to do, just giving me advice.
- Sharing things about yourselves you may not have when I was younger.
- Accepting me and my friends for who I am – it doesn’t matter what sexual orientation, race, or creed – you are accepting and tolerant, and I appreciate it much more than you can ever know.
- Lending me money when I need to take the bus while I look for a job.
- Telling me that you are proud of what I’ve accomplished.
There’s much more I could thank my parents for, but that would take up way too much space. I love my parents, and though we have our problems like any other relationship out there, I wouldn’t change them. I appreciate who they are because they appreciate me for who I am.
Just before I leave, I know that I made mention of some topics that could start a heated debate. I’m not saying anyone is wrong for what they believe, and I don’t want anyone making comments telling me I am wrong about my beliefs. Especially about homosexuality – I will automatically delete your comment if you start becoming hateful, because one thing I do not accept is unbridled intolerance for another person and any type of homophobia, racism, ageism, or sexism. A lot of very close people in my life are homosexual, and I’m sorry, but I will take any rude comments extremely personally. I love them, because they are friends – and they are practically family – and if you go against my family – well I may just go all Corleone on you 😉 Please keep comments civil, and try to keep in mind the bigger picture of the post. I’m sure this is a very unneeded note, because everyone who ever comments on here is very civil, kind, and intelligent individuals. I’d rather just be safe than sorry :). With that my lovelies, have a great afternoon and a great weekend!
Oh, and another note, I just want to say: On September 13th, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary!! Congrats Mom and Dad :)!! In a world where there aren’t many cases of successful marriages, I’m so happy you two have gone against the odds!
And one other note: I’d really recommend the film “Parenthood” starring Steve Martin, it’s really great.