Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Disappearing Parent

I can be very judgmental.  Ask my husband.  He'll agree.  The thing I think I'm most judgey about is parenting.  No, I do not think I know everything or that I am superior.  There are simply some things I've come across over the past five years that can't seem to escape that black-robed mouth in my head and her finger wagging.

When we have a child, we take on a huge responsibility.  It isn't just about feeding, clothing, and safety.  We take on the responsibility to love and nurture that has no expiration date.  We bring this child into our family by choice.  A pregnancy isn't planned?  Tough.  You have the baby, you've made a choice.   If you aren't sure you can handle the responsibility, there's adoption.

I no longer have the option to hold and care for my daughter.  For a good while after she died, my arms physically (perhaps that came from mental roots) ached for her.  No, in her short eight years she did not commit crimes or injustices in this world.  She never disappointed me either.  Yes, I was angry with her from time to time.  There was this one instance when she learned to bite.  She pretended to try to kiss me on the cheek but bit me instead.  She smiled, hugely proud of herself.  After my anger diffused, I admit I was even proud of her since she was two and biting is kind of typical for a two-year-old.  She didn't have a long list of developmental milestones she met on time, ya know?  I digress.

I know of so many parents who have adult children whom they choose to dismiss from their lives.  I call them disappearing parents.  They all have their reasons.  I think there is very, very little a person could do that would truly justify a parent's absence from the life they purposefully brought into their world.  You know what?  Adults make decisions other adults don't like.  I feel absolutely certain that this precious, innocent baby boy who has me wrapped around his tiny finger will do something at some point that I will not like.  I may even hate it or be embarrassed by it.  I will never cut him out of my life.  You may say, "Oh, you just wait...".  No.  You wait.  You wait until a child you love with every fiber of your being is yanked from your arms forever.  You wait until you cry yourself to sleep at night because you miss your child and there is nothing in this life that seems worthwhile because that hurt is so deep.  Your adult child has done something you disapprove of?  Ask any one of us who has lived this grief if it is bad enough to cut them out of your life.  I wager none of us would say 'yes'.  

If you have children who are alive, they deserve you.  You don't have to like what they do with their lives.  I'll wager they don't approve of you wholly either.  You know what?  It doesn't matter.  Be thankful you have them and do whatever it takes to keep in contact.  One day, the choice won't be yours anymore.  

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