I have always found it interesting that, at least in the United States, you need a license to drive a car, to own a dog or to even go fishing, but anyone, anyone at all, can be a parent. I'm not suggesting that I believe the government should in any way decide who's parent material and who is not, but I am suggesting that some people just shouldn't be parents. Whether or not this is something anyone should regulate is an entirely different topic.
It's just that in the past few weeks, we've seen children die in horrible instances at the hand of their parents. In May, it came to light that mommy blogger Lacey Spears was arrested for systematically poisoning her son Garnett. Her reason? Investigators have assumed she did it in the hopes of getting attention for herself and her blog, "Garnett's Journey." Although some reports declared Spears had Munchhausen syndrome by proxy (a psychiatric disorder where a parents deliberately makes their child sick for attention) it doesn't change the fact that a little boy is dead and all evidence points to his mother.
Spears, of course, is only one of many in a long line of parents who have been accused of killed their children. Just a few weeks ago, Justin Ross Harris of Georgia "accidentally" left his 22-month-old son in the car all day, which resulted in the child's death and yesterday, his wife admitted that shortly before their son's death, she had researched cases in which a child had died in a hot car.
While children dying in hot cars in the summer have, for some, been legitimate accidents, there appears to be no accident in the case of Harris and his wife Leanna. They had a baby, and in deciding that they didn't want him anymore, threw him way. They did not seek other options like adoption or even reach out to family members or mental health professionals to try to deal with whatever it was about the child that, to them, was so awful. They just gave up and took a life that was not theirs to take. They're not just terrible, sadistic human beings, but two people who should have never become parents.
I'm not a parent. I'm not a parent for hundreds of reasons. For starters, I'm not ready, emotionally, financially or otherwise. But more than anything, I'm selfish. I can admit to that. I'd rather have my Friday nights to do whatever I want than spend it changing diapers or staying in simply because my status as a parent doesn't allow me to go out and do what I want do. I know these things about myself. I don't deny them. I've realized I'd make a better aunt than a mother (and aunts get to have more fun anyway).
When I look at my nephews, I know I would die for them. If anyone messed with either one of them, I would not stand idly by and let them suffer or hurt in anyway. They are my blood and honestly, probably the two greatest human beings I have ever met — and they're only four and five. So, if my feeling for these two kids whom I didn't even conceive, carry in my body or gave birth to is so intense, how can a mother and father rationalize poisoning their son to death, leaving him in the back of a car or any of the other ways in which parents have taken the life of their children? I don't know. Not a single sane person knows.
No one ever said being a parent is easy. I'm told it's one of the hardest, but most fulfilling and important jobs a person will ever take on and whenever I see my sister with my nephews, I believe it. There's no doubt that it's easier to give up and walk away when things get tough, but if you signed up to be parent, you don't get that leisure; that is one option you don't have.
If you're not down for the long haul, then don't sign up for the responsibility. It's better to never have a child at all, than have one and take its life away. Granted, that's probably the most obvious statement I've ever written, but based on the behavior of some of these so-called parents, it apparently needs to be said. And yet, before the day is out, there is likely to be another tragedy ... and people wonder why I prefer dogs to human beings.