Twice in the last few weeks I’ve been struck by different thoughts about parental love.
Like many adopters, I’ve been told countless times that all my children need to make them ‘better’ is love and hugs. And while love by itself clearly isn’t enough, there is some truth to this idea.
I love both my children. Obviously it didn’t happen straightaway but my affection and feeling for them grows every day. Unfortunately I don’t love them as equally as I should and/or would like to. Loving Gosling is easy – he’s charming, has a smile that melts your heart, has an infectious and genuine laugh, and is very loving in return. But I’ve had to work really hard with Duckling – and it’s an ongoing struggle.
Parenting therapeutically is so much easier when you really love the child in question, and you can take the hitting, rejection, and anything else that’s thrown at you (metaphorically or physically). But of course it’s a vicious circle because the one child that really needs my unreserved love is the one I struggle to always give it to.
I know it’s early days but I do beat myself up over the fact that I’m not yet the parent I want to be: selfless, generous and always there for their children (the list is exhaustive). One like my dad, for instance – which very neatly brings me to my second thought…
My dad, an eighty-seven year old Irish Catholic, just about coped with my coming out as gay, but six years later was very much the proud ‘father of the groom’ at Tom and my wedding. The thought, however, of his gay son having children was definitely not something he would even entertain as possible, let alone morally acceptable.
Fast forward six months and to see him tickle and cuddle Duckling and Gosling, I can see he has accepted them and loves them unconditionally, as an extension of his love for me. It brought a lump to my throat to see it and made me hope that one day I’ll have the same, fully-fledged unconditional love for Duckling and Gosling that he does for me.
The Good Stuff
My husband and I have adopted two wonderful children. Duckling is 5 and Gosling, her little brother, is 3. I'll be keeping track of our journey here...