When I was still in high school I attended the graduation party of an older friend. She was a year older than me, which means I must have been 17 at the time. We were in the high school orchestra together, and I think we may have been stand partners at one point. I did not know a lot of the people at the grad party, so I awkwardly conversed with a random girl of about my own age.
One thing you may not know about me is that other people like to talk to me. Complete strangers will strike up a conversation with me at the most random times, and the things they say! My mom and I have a theory – something in my bone structure that I share with one of my sisters and my mom makes people want to talk to us. Worse, it’s almost as if our faces help them share more than we ever wanted to hear.
My face may have had that effect on this girl or perhaps she just had no tact. Maybe it was a combination of the two, but she started talking about having children out of wedlock. She actually used the word “bastards.” I wish I were joking about that because a 17-18 year-old using the word “bastard” to describe the child of unwed parents in 2007 in the United States is disturbing.
She started criticizing people for having children out of wedlock. I believe my response was, “I am a bastard. My parents never married.” That shut her up.
I am indeed the child of unwed parents.
I can’t say I take this for granted anymore, but growing up I think I did. It’s not that my life was all that affected by not having married parents, rather I simply gained more perspective. Sometimes parents decide it’s not the right time to get married. Sometimes an unplanned pregnancy throws a wrench in marriage plans. Other times an unplanned pregnancy spurs two adults into becoming engaged, but marriage does not always follow. There are any number of reasons parents do not marry one another – from the committed relationship that feels it is an unnecessary step to the two people who had a short relationship and realize marriage would be worse for the child.
I am not saying unmarried parents are better than married ones, but I don’t think snap judgements on the marital state of parents make any sense. They reveal you to be at best ignorant and inexperienced (at worst, willfully ignorant and malicious). Stable and loving homes, no matter what form they take, are more important than having two parents raise you. You can certainly learn this in any number of ways. For me being aware that I had a good home (my parents split when I was 10) despite living with only one parent made it quite obvious that good homes come in many shapes and sizes for children.
I guess this means my third post is about something I used to take for granted, but that counts (because these are my rules!).