It’s been a very long time since I plunked away at my computer to share my thoughts. Today I have to as many conversations have caused me to broach this subject: making absolutely sure that you can and will accept your child, whatever they may grow up to be, no matter what.
Earlier this year I wrote about my daughter coming out. Maybe read it before you continue.
Last weekend my daughter and her partner attended the wedding of a female same sex couple. One of the brides’ father and grandfather were conspicuously absent. They don’t accept her sexual preference; they don’t accept the marriage. What was one of the happiest days of this girl’s life was not shared by family members that I imagine mean very much to her. So very sad.
It made me think about what people expect when they decide to have children. I’ll give a little unsolicited advice: expect to love them unconditionally, raise them to be good people and to not try to mold them into what they are not. Sure, you want them to be respectful. Smart. Pretty/handsome. Athletic. A dancer. A musician. A doctor. A lawyer. You get the drift. You want things for them and there’s nothing wrong with that. Except if it doesn’t happen.
It’s been a drill since the dawn of time, grow up, get married, have children. I knew that I always wanted to have them, actually ached for them. And when they were born all I cared about was their health and safety. We did everything in our power to give them the tools and education to be good people, to succeed in life.
When my girls were growing up, of course they had their share of doing things we did not approve of. During those times I would reflect on my own upbringing; on things that I did I was not so proud of. Every child has to make their own way; it’s up to us to guide them on the path. But that path doesn’t always fit our views, our ideals. So, before you have children think long and hard about what you want out of it.
Ask yourself lots and lots of questions.
What will I do if my child is not interested in the things I want him/her to be? Will I push them to do it anyway?
What if my child doesn’t play by the rules – is difficult and hard to manage – will I become resentful and hateful towards them?
What if my child does not do well in school or is shy and anti-social? What if my child is a bully? What if my child is handicapped?
What if my child is gay? What if my child is transgender? What if my child gets or gets someone pregnant?
Will I ever give up on my child if they aren’t what I expect? Ask yourself that one and be sure you know the answer.
Today someone I know buried her 25 year old son. He died of a heroin overdose. She never gave up on him, loved him unconditionally and prayed for him to get better. Other parents may have thrown him out, turned their backs, happens all the time. Other parents may not have tried and tried the way she did. Her heart will forever be broken but she can always know she did everything she could.
When my daughter came out last year I learned such a valuable lesson on life. I learned how much I loved her and that no matter what, I wanted her to know how much. Of course I thought her life would be different! But when I had children, I knew in my heart I would always be there for them, accept them no matter what. I did. And I do.
The harsh reality in this world are the number of children that don’t have this type of love from their parents. That have been turned away, that have been made to feel inadequate for not living up to their parents expectations. So, my advice for those considering having children:
Expect nothing and everything they give you will be a gift.
And love them always, no matter what.
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