My turn to parent is almost complete now. It’s time to watch my children take theirs and I watch in awe as they enjoy their children and those responsibilities that accompany parenthood. There is no handbook for parenting and in hindsight, it’s easy to see there can’t be. Each child comes to us with its own agenda, thoughts, and plans and our job is just to guide them through life, giving them a safe place to land in the tough times and rejoicing with them in the good ones. One’s life is marked by the rites of passage that create subtle shifts in his or her growth from childhood to adulthood.
All these thoughts became cohesive for me while reading a book that I happened on while searching for something else to read. I read voraciously and it’s really hard for Amazon to provide enough reading material to keep me supplied. So, it’s always a surprise when I run across an author who not only enlightens me but also makes me roar with laughter. I’ve always had a keen sense of humor that tends to be dry, at times, bordering on sarcastic and wicked, but always it’s about the words and how they are used. Laughter was always a huge part of my life, but over the years, I had lost my laughter.
I didn’t realize how much I needed the healing of laughter until I read T J Klune’s book, Tell Me It’s Real, which had me smiling on page one, chuckling by page ten, and crying from laughing so hard. I laughed so much my dogs were startled and anxious at this new sound. At several points, I had to stop reading so I could wipe the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard. I went through half a box of Kleenex that way. So, it was a pleasant surprise when in one scene, the author commented on what parenting is all about. He has graciously given me permission to quote this passage from his book.
The main character, Paul, is talking with his boyfriend’s mother about being a parent when he says to her, “If you’re responsible enough to become a parent, then you should be responsible enough to accept your kid no matter how they turn out. It doesn’t matter if they’re disabled or gay or not as smart as others or green or black or blue or whatever the hell they turn out to be. You have them, you love them. Always. Being a parent isn’t about getting to pick and choose what you want your kid to be. Being a parent means protecting your kid from anything that could ever harm him. Being a parent means you shelter, but you also make them stronger so one day they can stand on their own.”
That is the core of parenting. Speaking through Paul, T J got it so right. If only all parents could live up to such standards, the world would surely be a better place.