Growing up most of the kids in our neighborhood thought of my parents as the “cool parents”. Not because there weren’t any rules, believe me when both of your parents have served in the military there are rules. They were, and still are, considered cool because they would listen to both my sister and I and any of our friends who came to them with problems. Most of my friends have less than stellar home lives in high school and so my parents and by extension a lot of the rest of my family became anchor points for kids looking for something stable. As it turns out, I know several people who have active drug abuse issues going on through high school. I did not realize this for several years because my friends had enough respect for my parents and their home not to bring those substances around. I know for a fact that for some of my friends my parents acted more like parents to them than their biological mom or dad ever has. This post was inspired because I read a post here that said ” When a teenager says to someonem “your parents are so cool,” it really means, “I don’t realize this now, but later in my adult life, I will look back and judge your cool parents for being so stupidly insecure and permissive.”
I am not saying that some parents that teenagers think are cool aren’t permissive and insecure in their role as parents. I am merely saying that from my experience being known as the “cool parents” doesn’t automatically make you permissive or insecure. Growing up my sister and I were expected to maintain at least a B average in school. We were not punished for getting a C in the subject so long as we had put our best effort forward. Math beyond about seventh grade level in them always has been the bane of my existence no matter what I do therefore a C was acceptable when it happened because they knew I had put every effort into getting the best grades possible. By contrast if I had gotten the same grade in English or History, both subjects which come much easier to me you can bet I heard about it for quite a while. In case my parents do read this and they might because my blog posts are linked to my Facebook, it’s 28 years later, I still think you are the cool parents and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I am a disabled woman who kids kids eventually. Even though my disability isn’t caused but a birth or genetic defect but rather by a simple case of bad timing (I was two months and ten days early) and a lack of oxygen to the brain the fact that I am disables makes any pregnancy of mine high risk which in turn increases the chance that my child(ren) could have a disability. This scares me a lot. To be honest the idea of a physical disability doesn’t scare me half as much as the thought of raising a Downs Syndrome or Autistic Spectrum child does If however the universe decides to send me such a child I will love him her or them just as much as an able bodied or neurotypical child. The fact that there are some parents who feel overwhelmed by their chuld’s disability that they would murder that child is sad but can not and should not be seen as justification for doing so
Yes parenting a special needs child is different and in lots of ways more difficult than parenting a typical able bodied child but I believe that when you make the decision to become a parent you accept the possibility that things might not go exactly as you hoped. Murder is never the answer and being born with a disability isn’t a crime If you’re feeling overwhelmed talk to somebody call CPS anything is better than harming a child or adult who had no control over the fact they were born disabled.
That is a picture of my paternal grandparents headstone, I never got to meet either one of them. My dad is the youngest of three boys (I believe there had been a baby girl before my oldest uncle but she was stillborn). I suppose you could say that my father was an ‘oops’. My grandmother Eileen was diabetic and after her second boy, my uncle David, was born she was strongly advised against getting pregnant again due to the impact it could have on her health. I’ve heard rumors that what led to my father’s inception was a birthday present of sorts to my grandfather. When she turned up pregnant again my grandmother’s response was to walk up to my grandfather call him a bastard and slap him across the face so I’m not sure how true the birthday present rumor is. On a side note my grandmother’s reaction has become something of a tradition at least for my folks, I know for sure that was how mom told that she was pregnant with me and I think that maybe how he found out about my younger sisters impending entrance to this world as well.
The doctors were right, the last pregnancy did not do her health any favors, she died with my dad was 10 years old. I am sorry that my sister and I and my cousin never got to know her but at the same time if she had followed medical advice neither me or my sister would be here. From her life I have learned that love is sacrifice and that sacrifice isn’t always bad.
I got my first Christmas card yesterday. I rarely get snail mail and when it isn’t related to my disability it is usually from one of a list of people I can count on one hand. It was from Oz (the only person in my family who calls him John is my grandma which I find mildly confusing because both my Uncle and Great Uncle, her oldest son and her brother are John also,) and it is beautiful. It is now taped on my wall above my computer.
Inside the card was a photo of his three year son, the kind that you put in a nice frame and sit on your desk. I don’t have a frame to fit it yet but you can bet I’ll get one, because I wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. I have referred to my myself as a step parent or step mom before but this somehow makes it even more Blood or not I love our boy dearly and that is all that matters.
I don’t have children yet but since I now plan on it some day I have started to pay attention to parent bloggers and how they write about their kids. The cyberspace revolution didn’t even start until I was mime or ten so I did not grow up with my baby pictures uploaded to Facebook as a matter of course or the milestones of my childhood recorded in a blog. My girlfriend wrote to her firstborn in a blog during her pregnancy and I liked the idea so much I plan on writing an individual for any children I am blessed with. I also know that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry but I will try anyway. I will do my best not to post stories about them on my personal blog which might them cringe in embarrassment when they old enough to realize that Mommy or Stepmom as the case maybe has a blog and they are mentioned it.
I promise to always ask permission of a child’s parent(s) (both whenever possible( before I write about them or post a picture I may have them on the net. Yes,the world is a lot safer than it used to be and I am not one to jump at shadows but as parenting blogs continue to evolve we as the adults should remember that we are responsible for their safety as well as the outside world’s perception of them and that is a fragile trust indeed. To my partners and the parents of their children: thank for allowing me to share in the blessing that is you child(ren’s) lives and know that I will love and protect them like my own.
I can’t help thinking that the children in the photograph have been newly orphaned and the adult a distant relative with very little idea of how to take care of children who has suddenly found himself their guardian. I can’t be sure what year the photo was taken in having the general look of the building and the style of their clothing to go by,obviously the man has a housekeeper or at the very least a motherly neighbor to make sure the children are clean and well dressed. Perhaps it is Easter Sunday but if it is the photo has got to be one of the most somber Easter pictures I have ever seen.
I almost wondered of the man in the picture was my grandfather standing with my father but my dad grew up with older brothers, the only girl born to my Kestner grandparents was stillborn, I’m not even sure she had a name, the last version of our family tree I saw she was called only Baby Girl Kestner. I didn’t realize that I might have had an Aunt if fate hadn’t seen fit to intervene until a few years ago. Since finding that out however I have mourned her absence from my life. Maybe it was for the best though, I think my grandfather would have been at loss over how to raise a girl in a houseful of boys without my grandmother who died when my dad was ten years old. I have some my uncles stories about my grandma Eileen and a few from my dad, but would have nice to have a girl who remembered her at least a little bit.