On Monday night my friend Debbie and I went to see the movie, Juno.
Apparently, this film has been nominated for an Academy Award - which I might know - if my television viewing included anything other than Super Why and Barney or if I'd glanced at a newspaper once in the past month. My ignorance of what is happening in the world around me is blissfully frightening.
I think I heard that this is an election year, so I probably need to get my head out of the sand at some point, soon. Or - just hope that someone can tell me who I should vote for and why.
Needless to say, this was the first movie that I have been able to sit through and watch from beginning to end, in at least a year. And what a great movie it was. It was humorous and yet extremely touching - a perfect pairing of emotions.
The main character, a 16-year old girl named Juno, becomes pregnant. She is only a Junior in high school. She cannot care for a baby at this point in her life and she does not want a baby at this point in her life. Weighing her options, she decides to have an abortion. But while sitting in the waiting room, she changes her mind and runs out.
The bravery of this young girl - to approach her parents - carry a baby to term - and search out adoptive parents - while still attending high school is incredible. And the story of the woman who ultimately adopted Juno's baby is amazing, too. She wanted nothing more than to have a child of her own. Her marriage, her home, her very existence ... everything in her life revolved around her overwhelming desire to become a mother.
For the past two days, I've been thinking about this movie. I've been thinking about how painfully desperate it feels to want a child that you cannot have ... how much courage it must take for a mother to put her child up for adoption ... how adoption truly is a gift of love ... and how I know so many good people who have grown their families through the adoptive process.
For instance, there is my friend Deana and her husband Jack, who struggled with infertility for five years, before adopting their beautiful baby boy. Less then two years later, the birth mother of their son - gave birth to another baby - that Deana and Jack also adopted. Late last year, there was a two part news segment done on Jack and Deana's story.
(You can watch the first segment here and the second segment here.)
I've watched the segment several times and each time, I've been moved to tears. But adoption stories do that to me because the whole process is bittersweet. There is the love that a mother has for her baby to give them life - and then give them up - with the hope that their baby will have a better life ... and then there is the love and longing that the adoptive parents have had for a baby, before it was even conceived.
The movie also made me think about my own children and how I am going to talk to them about sex, as they grow up. I know I've got a ways to go before I need to worry about such things, but I'm already thinking about it, because I like to inundate my mind with things that have not yet happened. It helps me to stay awake at night when I'm up feeding a famished six-month-old in the midst of a growth spurt.
I really hope that our children will abstain until they are married - or at least - until they are in a committed relationship with someone that they love and trust and who loves and trusts them in return. And I'm really hoping that they don't find that person until they are 40. Or 45.
Although some people might think that an unplanned pregnancy is the worst thing that could happen to their child, I happen to believe that contracting a sexually transmitted disease is far more severe. Whatever you believe, it is my humble opinion that the most important thing anyone can do is arm their children with knowledge.
My mother had me enrolled in a sex education class as soon as I was wearing a training bra and she escorted me in to a planned parenthood to hear about birth control options when I was 17 and had been dating the same boy for four years, because she suspected the birds and the bees were on a collision course. I knew growing up that the whole issue of abortion and a woman's right to choose is an extremely difficult topic. It isn't black and white, although it may seem that way on the surface.
I will tell our children that I know a lot of women, many who are good friends, that have had abortions because they became pregnant either as teenagers or young adults and they were not ready at that point in their lives to have a child. Almost all of these girls and women were terrified what their parents would think - one to the point that she attempted to perform the abortion, herself. Sadly, I know women who made the decision to terminate a pregnancy because it occurred as the result of rape or an incestuous event. My heart breaks for all of these women because although they did what they felt was right for them, at that point in their life, their decision will always be with them. Often in later years, with much regret.
Much like my mother did with me, with our children, I will do whatever I can to protect them. I will be sure that they receive the appropriate vaccinations and be armed with an unambiguous education on the subject. I will also tell them that if they ever find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy, I am here to help. Whether it be my daughters or my sons, I am here to help and support them.
In other serious news ... beginning tomorrow, I am going to help my children by ridding them of what seems to be, an increasing dependence on diapers. Not a single one of my children has used the toilet in an appropriate manner for the past three days. Even those children who I thought were almost completely potty-trained, have had a regression of geologic proportions.
So let's just FORGET what I said about a person needing to have patience and not get frustrated. Blah, blah, blah.
My patience quota has been tapped.
So help me, if I have to change one more diaper on a child that weighs more than 30 pounds and is capable of articulating that their defecation is comparable in size to that of an Asian Pachyderm, my head will fall clean off my shoulders.
So one way or the other, our area rugs are coming up.