The Diva and I sat together on Sunday afternoon watching the latest version of the Parent Trap. The ice cream maker sounded in the background as the two of us enjoyed being indoors, if only for a few hours, on this steamy August afternoon.
If you are not familiar with the movie, Meredith (the step mother to
be) goes camping with the twins and their dad. After enduring various tricks played upon her by the twins, Meredith gives the dad an ultimatum "It's them or me!”
The line struck me - how often do we allow people who "love us" and who we "love" to ask us to make choices that involve others that we love or care about such as our kids or our friends?
How often do we make those choices over removing ourselves from the situation?
Does "love" ask us to make such a choice? Does "love" give ultimatums?
In the movie the Dad chose his daughters – his role of parent taking priority over a love that would request him to make the choice.
How often does that happen? How often is a man or woman willing to take the risk of loosing a love relationship in order to be a parent? I am sure that women do this, but I have seen men do it – electing the love relationship over their kids when they are forced to make a choice.
Admittedly, I have never been asked to choose between a relationship and my child. No one has asked me to put their comfort and their security over being involved with my daughter. I would like to believe that I would not stay in a relationship that asked me to choose between that adult and my child as that is not a love relationship – or at least not a love relationship that I want in my life.
If we choose a love relationship and its concerns over our flesh and blood (our child) are we, in a sense, giving control over our role as parent to another party? Does our role as parent then depend upon the comfort and desire of that love interest? Does that party then "allow" us to be a parent over our choosing to parent?
These are all questions that came to mind as I contemplated what would have transpired had the dad (non-fictional as he might be) elected his soon-to-be wife over his kids?
I found myself considering my own child - I chose to be her parent the moment I found out I was pregnant. The role of parent is one of protecting and supporting and letting go and accepting and providing that nurture and unconditional love. I accepted that responsibility completely. I want a man in my life who will both appreciate that and respect it – understanding that he is a priority but that first and foremost, I am a parent. In some situations, blood is thicker than water! ;) Not to mention that I would not ask someone to choose one person over the other; I would not want to be required to make that sort of choice in return preferring to remove myself from that relationship trusting that there is love to be found elsewhere. (For the record, I would react similarly were my child to ask me to make that same choice – we would have lots of conversations about the meaning of love)
And honestly, parenting is, quite simply, a choice and a responsibility and a joy and a challenge. No one allows me to be her parent; no one lets me be her mom... and heaven help the man who dared believe that his comfort and desires took priority to the needs of my child!