“One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.”
The other night I caught an episode of I’m Having Their Baby and it got me thinking. (I know, I know: I really try not to do that too often.) The show looks at the world of adoption, but from the birth mothers’ perspective — a very different view. These are women who make astronomically hard decisions, one after the other, not the least of which is the heart-wrenching choice to give up their babies: How do they choose the right parents? How can they ensure their children will have the best future? Every episode is an emotional rollercoaster hour of television; I was exhausted at the end of my viewing. Not coincidentally, this is much like any parent feels: like you’re on an exhausting rollercoaster of emotions and situations.
I’m not sure why exactly, but the dilemma that really got to me is how in the world the birth mothers choose new parents. Most of these girls have no idea what being a parent even is. Many of them are still children themselves. I have four kids and have been a parent for sixteen years — and I am still trying to figure it all out. How in the world is a (mostly) first-time mother supposed to make a “forever” decision like that one?
I looked up “parent” in the dictionary: A father or a mother, an ancestor precursor, or progenitor. A source, origin, or cause, a protector or guardian, any organism that produces or generates another.
Accurate, sure, but absolutely no light shed on what a “parent” actually is. So I tried “parenting”: The rearing of children, the methods, techniques, etc., used or required in the rearing of children, the state of being a parent.
“The state of being a parent?” OK, fine, we know that there are many states of being a parent (and trust me, not all of them are good). Still, this definition offered no explanation of what those states are or when they are going to happen. I’m not even sure what the exact meaning is for the “state” of being a parent; I feel that the word “shock” needs to be added, because one thing I do know about parenting is that you are more often than not in a total state of shock!
So, I asked some parents: If they could describe being a parent in one word, what would that word be? This was not easy, as being a parent is made up of so many crazy words. The list of words they came up with was long and varied:
And those are merely some of the best ones (IMO)!
And did you notice? None of these words are in the dictionary definitions, anywhere! So, how are these adoption mothers, making this forever decision, supposed to know what they are looking for when choosing people who can handle parenting? Who can handle all this? I know I fake it more often than not!
All we can do, as parents, is try — try our best, but try nonetheless. Try. Seems like such a small, simple word. Yet every day we do it, it holds a world of possibilities.
Dee Brun is the award-winning author of Libations of Life: A Girl’s Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, a cocktail chef and stylist, TV personality, home entertaining guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, and borderline George Clooney stalker. Read her column, Isn’t it Deelightful, every Friday on Slice.ca.