To Be or Not To Be…a Parent.

Mrs. North Dakota International 2016 – Ashley Rae Klinger

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week! Thank you for taking the time to check out my latest blog post!

Having just recently celebrated two very special annual Holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I can’t help but to think about what it means to be a parent, and whether or not parenthood is a part of the plan that God has for me. So, instead of simply thanking my parents for everything that they’ve done for me, which I AM very grateful for, so THANK YOU, Mom and Dad, I’m going to take a slightly different direction with this entry.

When I was in my early twenties, I always assumed that I would have children, and I assumed that I would have them at some point before I was 30. Well, at the age of 35, here I am yet to be a Mother. Truth be told, this is something that I struggled with throughout my life until I eventually came to two very important realizations.

As many of us do, I used to live my life on an invisible timeline. I grew up thinking that the natural progression of my life was to graduate high school and then college, get a good job, meet a man who would become my husband, get a dog, buy a house, have kids, and so on and so on. Until one day, I realized that 1) there is no timeline to life. We are each on our own journey, which includes our own timeline according to the plan that God has for us, and 2) if being a biological parent isn’t apart of the plan He has for me, I’m not going to be less fulfilled as a person. There are plenty of ways that I can still be a parent figure and make a positive impact on a child’s life if that is something that is important to me. And if it’s not, that’s ok too.

Without a doubt, I am the woman I am today because of my parents and the impact they had on me, and continue to have on me, throughout my life. However, although not my biological parents, there have been people throughout my life who have also been very much like parent figures to me and have also made a huge impact on the woman I have become.

As I’m not a parent, I might not be in a position to predict what it’s like to be one. However, what my parents and those parent figures have taught me is this; there are a lot of responsibilities and blessings that come along with being a parent, and those responsibilities and blessings shouldn’t be taken lightly. Parenthood isn’t just about being ‘active’ in your child’s life by changing their diapers, running them to school, bringing them to their extracurricular activities and so forth. Parenthood is much more than that. It’s about being ‘engaged’ in your child’s life, and although parenting methods and styles might differ from one to another, in the end it’s about providing your child with support and guidance throughout their lives by giving them a foundation to grow on and an example to live by. Just as my parents did this, those individual parent figures did this as well, and for that I will be eternally grateful because that transformed me into the woman I have become today and the woman I will strive to be for years to come.

So, what I know is this; 1) I will not compare my journey to the journey of another, and I will enjoy the time that makes up my life according to HIS plan rather than categorizing my life through time according to MY plan. And 2) whether it’s as a biological parent or a parent figure, I trust in the plan that God has for my husband and I, and I will do my very best to make a positive impact in the lives of the children around me, just as my parents and those parent figures did for me. And when that time comes, in whatever form it comes in, I know that I have what it takes to be truly engaged in their lives and to provide them with a foundation to grow on and an example to live by just as I had in my life.

THANK YOU again to my parents, as well as those parent figures for all that they’ve done for me and for the difference that they’ve made in my life! To all you parents and parent figures, Happy belated Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!

Until next time, continue to make a difference and lead by example.

Ashley Rae Klinger
Mrs. North Dakota International 2016

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