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April 8th, 2009:

Parent versus non-parents, deuxième partie

I scribbled a post a while back that talked a bit about the differences between those of us who have propagated and those who have chosen not to. I received a bit of flack for calling non-parents “ignorant” and upon reflection, this was likely not the best word to use. But I stand by what I said in the text.

And I’m adding to it.

Unless they are mentally unbalanced or an addict of some ilk, a parent will do whatever it takes to care for the health of their child. They will lose sleep, work extra hours, sacrifice their own clothes so that the child can be adequately dressed. They will give them their last scrap of food when food is scarce.

They will take a bullet for them, jump in front of a train to save them, dive into icy waters to rescue them.

They will die for them.

And so it is for my kids. All of the above applies to me for any of the three of my kids.

Oddly, I didn’t want kids when I was in my 20’s and still more oddly, I feel that having them is a lifelong commitment. It won’t end when they are grown and on their own.

So when the well-being of one of them is threatened, I jump into rescue hero mode and do whatever it takes to pull them back from whatever poses the threat.

Some of you may be aware that we have had a bit of a health scare with my little boy over the past few months. After a “minor” (yeah, right) surgery, it seems that all is OK and his affliction can be attributed to a nasty little bacteria. But, Holy Cowabunga! The Resident-Love-Goddess and I have been on pins and needles! It isn’t until the health of your child is directly threatened that you are reminded of the strength of that bond between parent and child.

Another example.

My eldest subunit decided to turn vegetarian last summer. No problem – I totally respect that. There is evidence that points to that lifestyle being a helluva lot healthier than the one adopted by we carnivores!

As long as you eat the right things and take supplements, one can be a healthy little camper.

And therein lies the rub. No matter what her 4 parents tell her, she just-won’t-eat-properly! She’s not getting enough protein nor enough iron. We think that she is becoming anaemic as she is always sick and getting as pale as a ghost. But she just won’t listen.

The kid has been turning a maturity corner lately as she is getting excited about her post-secondary life. Her grades have picked up and even her attitude – while still FAR from ideal – seems to be improving.

But she is making herself ill by NOT eating properly and her parents are at their collective wit’s end!

And there is very little that we can do about it. She has to realise that being a vegetarian has health consequences if care is not exercised and she has to either fix her diet or go back to eating meat.

My kids’ – the toddler’s and the teen’s – health issues are very different but they are both realistically out of my control. I can take the little one to doctor appointments and the follow-up. I can suffer through 2 hours of waiting while he was in surgery. But his health was in the hands of the doctors and his own young body’s ability to heal itself.

For my teen, I can talk to her, plead with her, buy her foods and vitamins BUT the final decision is her’s.

I would do anything to fix either of their problems. Anything! If I believed in the existence of a soul, I would look up the red, horned guy in the phone book and try to do a deal!

And that, my friends, is a main difference between parents and non-parents. It isn’t the late nights or the cuddly times or thrill of hearing the first word or seeing the first step.

Those without kids will and can never feel the pain of their child and the resultant agony felt by the parent in knowing that in spite of your best efforts and in spite of doing everything “right”, that it is sometimes not enough. I can’t always “rescue” my kids – whether it be from poor eating habits or a nasty little bacteria.

And that pain is unlike any other.

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