Proud Mama

Life without parents is strange. More strange than most people can imagine.

I haven’t seen either of my biological parents in almost a year. I haven’t spoken to my mother since Christmas and, despite his attending our wedding, I haven’t spoken to my father since the March before that.

And, honestly, I’m happy about that. I’m happy to no longer be a part of an abusive non-family, I’m happy to not have to fit into someone else’s highly restrictive mold, I’m happy to finally be free from the constant anger and fear and dread that came with being involved in that mess.

I do not miss them.

But I kind of wish I had parents.

My biological parents were never really parents for me. Not in the way that most parents are. They filled a functional role, but there was no real parent-child relationship there. So it isn’t that I wish I had my biological parents in my life.

I just want parents. I always have.

I graduated last weekend. A year early. Cum laude. And I’m only 19. I’m proud of myself. My husband is too, and my in-laws (who flew up from TX for the weekend, which still blows my mind) are even more proud. I had friends, professors, pastors, and many other people express the same pride.

But I didn’t have parents to be proud of me. Even my inexplicably gratuitous in-laws don’t really fill that role because my husband and I haven’t been married long enough for me to really feel like a part of the family yet.

There’s something about parents–that they’ve raised you, watched you grow up, seen you become your own person–that makes them unlike anyone else.

And, despite all the people I had cheering me on this weekend, I didn’t have parents.

I used to always wish that someone would adopt me when I was little. Even as a teenager, I envied my friends who had great relationships with their parents, wishing I could just switch places with them.

And I know that there are plenty of people in my life who are “parents” to me. I have an awesome family in Christ, including several moms and dads. But I met all of them within the last three years. None of them have been there in the same way that actual parents who raise a child are there.

I know that, eventually, I won’t want this as much. And even right now I’m only a little bitter and jealous.

More than anything, I’m afraid for my future children.

Will I be a good mother? Will I be able to love them enough that they don’t wish they had different parents? Will I be more than a financial provider–will we have a real relationship, one that lasts after they leave the nest?

Will I, in all my infinite ineptitude, and despite all of my misconceptions and my scars, be able to be anything better than my biological parents were?

I suppose we won’t know until we have children. That doesn’t do anything to curb my fear.

But I do know that, if they’re ever doing this:

I’ll be the proudest mama ever.