Meet the Parents

Another celebratory day dedicated to parenthood, and another chance for me to wallow, if I wanted to, in the double-whammy of not having any living parents and not being a parent. Mercifully for me, the latter was a choice.

I like to think about my dad on Father’s Day, but I’ve decided to change the way I think about these days. I’ve decided to think about what is in my life, rather than what isn’t. What is in my life is a group of friends, some, maybe most of whom are parents.

Some of them doing it on their own because their marriages broke down, some of them doing it on their own not knowing who donated the sperm to make their beautiful baby, some of them are in a family unit, some of them are far away, bringing up children in a different culture, some of them came into parenthood by mistake, some of them were trying for years to make it happen.

Even though I made the choice to be childfree, I am in a state of constant admiration for those who have gone there. I know that I could not go through the assault on my independence and selfhood but many of my friends do and they’ve emerged on the other side. Every time one of these days comes up I think about all of my friends and their transition into parenthood and how they have all done it differently.

Their children are now at the age where they are making their own transitions into secondary school, or preparing for GCSEs, or starting at university and I wonder how it must feel for the parents when their child first goes to school, or leaves the family home for the first time.

I’ll never know how that feels but if they are living their single lives vicariously through me, I’m living my family life vicariously through them. I like having an insight on what parenthood entails, I’ve just chosen not to go there. It does leave me with questions about the idea of being surrounded by a safety net of ‘loved ones’ and what that means for me, but I have made the choice to be a single unit so there it is. Every now and again I get invited into a family fold and I really enjoy it.

So, today I am focusing on who is in my life, not who isn’t.

No dad, but plenty of dads. And they’re really cool.

The ones sharing custody of children, the ones in the close-knit family, the ones who are single parents, the ones who are struggling a little bit with the adjustment to parental life. And of course, the ones who are in partnerships and still trying to be a dad.

One of the hopes I had for my ex-husband was that he would go off and get the chance to be a dad because I always thought he’d make a great one.

I hope he did it because if there’s one thing the world needs, it’s great dads.

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