Every person is defined by the communities she belongs to.Orson Card
Story and photo by Faye Bayko
Thanksgiving is all about recognizing the bounty we each have in our lives. One area of bounty I have in my life is an amazing community of fellow parents.
Prior to last year, I had spent a lot of my time surrounded by people who were not parents and wondering why I was experiencing an overwhelming loneliness. Then I realized the problem.
It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with my old friends, it just came down to a difference in focus. When you’re a parent your life is no longer your own. Only another parent gets that.
They also get that you never stop being a parent once you become one, no matter how old the child. Growth is a process that never ends for parent or child.
Non-parents have grown up being the central focus of their life. Except for the brave souls who become step-parents, a non-parent will never understand the challenges and responsibility of raising another human. A parent lives every day with the consequences of their decisions and actions, so time becomes a living thing not just a concept.
The wonderful thing about the group of parents I am now part of is that they’re non-judgemental. We share horror stories from the parenthood trenches, laugh at our mistakes, toast our successes, and cry over our losses. But we never, ever, cut down another’s child. It’s not that we don’t know our child’s weaknesses. With the indiscriminate use of social media, as well as email and texting, there are seemingly endless cringe-worthy examples for all to see. What we want, and get, from fellow parents, is advice or examples of how they handled a similar situation, and the conviction that no child is beyond help.
And, we also understand that no matter what our kid does to us our arms will always open for them, and that’s how it should be.
So, this thanksgiving I am grateful to the community of parents I am building and the person I am becoming because of it.