I’m not a parent. And I have no plans of ever becoming one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the concept.
And I have one question for those considering bringing another living, breathing, tiny human into this world: Will you love it?
You could have a boy. Or you could have a girl. He could be short. She could be tall. Attractive or homely. Smart or slow. Quick-tempered or easy-going. You could have a child who’s mentally handicapped. Who suffers from anxiety. Or multiple personalities. You could have a child who is blind. Or deaf. Your child could be gifted. A prodigy. A genius. You could have a boy who likes boys. A girl who likes girls. A boy who wants to be a girl. You could have a child born with no clear gender at all. You could have a child born with extra toes. Or one eye. Or no hair. Or terrible, incurable diseases. You could have a great athlete. A talented artist. A beauty queen. Your child could be perfect in your eyes.
Or they could be anything but.
And you have to think for a moment before creating that new person: Will you love it?
Now I don’t mean: Will you raise it. Teach the child right from wrong. Impart your beliefs, your prejudices, your religion. Rearing up an immaculate version of yourself who thinks the way you do, makes the same choices you do, never disappoints you. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about what happens when your freckled-face 13-year-old tells you he’s known he was gay since before he knew he was supposed to be straight. I’m talking about what happens when your all-star quarterback wants to go into theater. Or your Bible-school daughter wants to pursue Islam or Buddhism or atheism.
What do you do then? Will you love them?
Will you say Go on; explore the depths of your own soul. Find what makes you feel most honest, most joyful, most true.
Or do you call them a disgrace and declare they are no longer welcome under your roof. Do you blame them for making these “choices.” Choices like seeds planted in their souls. Choices that have been growing in them and with them and because of them. Choices that are tucked into the farthest corners of their being. Choices they have no choice in.
Will you love them?
There are no qualifiers for being a parent. But maybe there should be just this one: Unconditional love.
If you are not capable of it, I ask that you think hard before having a baby.
Because we all deserve to be loved.
No matter who we are.