Adult ChildrenIdentityReligion

If my child falls in love with yours…

I will not be praying for you.
I will not be praying for your child. Or your family. Or to your God, should you have one.
Because I do not pray.
I do not believe in (your) God. Or any gods.

But that’s okay.
Well, I certainly hope it’s okay.

Maybe it isn’t okay with you.
Maybe the thought of your child falling in love and even marrying mine terrifies you, because you want your child to love someone, to choose to share their life with someone, who shares their values.
Nay, who shares your values, which you hope your child shares and wants to pass down to their own children.
You want your child to build the life you envision for them because we all do.

Did you know that?

That I envision a life for my child that maybe emulates mine at least a little. In which they are happy and healthy and have the kind of love they want and the kind of family they dream of and a calling in life that makes them happy and think on their adult life with the thought of “maybe this isn’t what I imagined when I was 7 or 12 or 19, but it’s a life that I love. And it’s mine.

And while you may pray for your children and their future and maybe their future spouse or their future in-laws, I have hope.

I hope that if our children do meet and fall in love and choose to build a life together that we will all – me, my husband, you, any other parents in their – support them, even if maybe we’re not what we all imagined.

I hope that we can find our way through our differences, whatever they may be, to celebrate love and happiness and a mutual decision to grow, even if that means change.

I hope that if this means that my child finds a passion for your God as well as your child that I can accept that with grace and dignity, even if I can’t begin to understand it.

I hope that if this means that your child decides that they don’t believe in your God that you can accept that with grace and dignity, even if you cannot begin to understand it. I hope that you will understand with the love that you feel for your child and your God in your heart that our children are good people and that the true values you have taught are more universal than you might fear.

I hope that if they make a go of it with different religious beliefs, from each other or in some entirely different way from how any of us brought them up, we can all accept that with grace and dignity even through our confusion, even maybe a little fear.

I hope that in the end, our values are not all that different – that we all value caring and honesty and generosity and reflection and education and affection and love. That we can all recognize that the basic concepts of doing unto others and loving thy neighbor arise from our humanity, whether we believe in any sacred text that sets out these precepts.

If my child is otherwise different from what you imagined – a different gender or a different race – I hope that won’t matter to you and you will love our children just as if their wedding were exactly what you pictured when you held them in your arms.

If our children don’t get married, but instead decide to build a life together without a legal committment, maybe even with more than just each other, I hope you can find acceptance. And I hope I can too.

If they decide never to have our grandchildren – the ones we jokingly curse each of them with when they drive us batty with their wonderful intense sometimes overwhelming personalities (is that just mine?) – I hope we can all accept that graciously and understand that their responsibility is first to themselves and each other, not to our desires for another generation.

And I hope, more than anything in the world, that you love your child so much that it makes you feel like your heart might explode, not because our children might one day meet and fall in love, but because no child deserves anything less.

Featured image by Flickr user Keith Marshall.

Emily Sexton

Writer of incomplete novels, entertainment lawyer, mom of two with a wide age spread, blogger here and elsewhere, wannabe vocalist and v/o actress, atheist, weirdo. That last bit went without saying. Find Em on twitter @emandink and maybe she'll use it more.

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