I said these words to my 13 year old son, yesterday, after a mini argument that could have been avoided if he simply stopped when I told him to stop and went to his room when I told him to go to his room. But, that's neither here nor there. What is here and there is the fact that he is my son and I am his parent. Oh, and that parenting is truly hard.
Did I give birth to him? No. Did I even know that he existed until he was five? Existentially, sure. I knew in my heart that my child was out there because I was just that connected to my fate from the beginning. But, the short answer is no. But, do I know he exists now? Yes. Did we adopt him? Yes. Is he ours? Yes. In a few short moments, will he likely wake up and annoy me with his thoughts for the day because he is way chattier than I am in the morning? Yes. Ok, that part isn't relevant, but I'm sort of dreading it. :) Because, again, parenting is hard.
Why am I saying the same things (in creative new ways) that I have said in other posts? And why am I so hooked on question talking? I don't know the answer to the second question, but I do know why I am bringing it up again!
Because a kid who has worked really hard and had a major success on the Olympic floor had to waste a minute dwelling on the fact that some sports commentator (Al Trautwig) trivialized her relationship with her parents.
After being called out on twitter for referring to Simone's parents as her grandfather and his wife, he responded with "They may be mom and dad but hey are NOT her parents."
Well, I find it a bit ironic that he did give them the mom and dad title since that's usually the one that adoptive parents have to fight for, but he un-did any good by not giving them the title of parents.
Biological grandparents, adoptive parents, whatever. They committed, they signed, they promised, they became her parents through adoption. And since it can be super hard (granted, also, super rewarding, too, though) to be a parent, they deserve the title.
They deserve any and all titles that work for their family.
In an interview, Simone remembered how Ron and Nellie who they initially called “Grandpa” and “Grandma,” sat them down to talk one day. “She said, ‘It’s up to you guys. If you want to, you can call us Mom and Dad. I went upstairs and tried practicing it in the mirror—‘Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad.’ Then I went downstairs, and she was in the kitchen. I looked up at her and I was like, ‘Mom?’ She said, ‘Yes!’ ”
Some members of the adoption community get offended if you compare human adoptions to animal adoptions. I don't. Partly because I love my animals so fiercely.
Heck, on some days, I like them better than my kids. ;) But, here's the thing. When you adopt an animal, no one wants to talk about your legitimacy as the dog owner just because the dog has had previous homes. No one points out that you are not the dog's real parent. Maybe I am oversimplifying things or treading too close to comparing children and animals too much. But, that's not my intention. My intention is to ask why these animal connections are given more respect than human connections?
Why do adoptive families live in a semi-constant state of justifying their families? Why didn't that guy immediately apologize and say he misspoke, instead of digging in his heels and continuing to minimize her identity? And, why do people exist that agree with him?
Parent is both a verb and a noun.
I was a parent as I parented my 16 year old who ran away for a night causing lasting damage to our relationship.
|But, this to shall pass...|
I was a parent as I watched my younger boys actually get along for five minutes while they played the piano and I was their parent when I had to do some parenting and break up an argument a few minutes later. (I refer back to the beginning of my post.)
I was a parent as I watched my daughter acolyte at church for the first time and I was her parent when I later watched her try to stay awake in front of the congregation.
Parenting is hard and as sure I know that I am stuck in the trenches, I know that I want to be there. I'm guessing that's the case for Simone's parents, too. So if these people made that commitment which they so clearly took seriously, if they stuck by her during those times when parenting her was not as glamorous as watching her do flips in the Olympic Arena; they sure as heck deserve to be called what they are. Her parents.
You might think it's not a big deal, we are just too easily offended or we need a safe space (based on some of the tweets that I read). If so, then you have probably been lucky enough to not have to reassure your kids that no matter what the jerky kids at school said, you are his real mom, dad, parent, etc. And, you might not have had to promise your kid again that you and Daddy will love him forever. I'm guessing that Simone has had similar conversations with her parents, as well. (It's common to our realities.) And of all the things to get "worked up" about, I'm thinking that worrying about the emotional health of kids is a pretty valid one.
Because worrying about kids is just something that parents do. Just ask Ron and Nellie Biles.
You've heard of them, right? They are Simone Biles' parents.