I am putting this out to the Universe and anyone who will listen: My singles lifestyle was happily, and unexpectedly interrupted with the arrival of my niece. She is my child, as much as any child of mine every can or will be. I feed her, bathe her, play with her, scold her, tell her stories, take her camping, do homework with her, teach her to cook, sing with her, pray with her, pray for her, love her.
She has been a significant investment, as are all children. She is loaned to me by God, as are all children loaned to their parents. She frustrates me, she makes me laugh, she makes me ache, she makes me grow and stretch, she makes me cry. She is what I live for every day.
To those I know who cannot or refuse to attempt to understand why I would accept this beautiful child into my life, or can only say: you are selfish and broken. To not want children or not have them is understandable. Not everyone is cut out for parenthood or wants to be a parent, and that's OK. But to treat others differently, shun them or ignore them because of a child- that is unacceptable. Parents are not lepers. Single parents are not defective (or lepers).
I live a life without regret over decisions I have made, both good and bad. I accept my flaws and imperfections. I am not a saint or a superhero. But I will not apologize for being a parent, or for providing a life for a child who would not otherwise have one. To those who treat me differently because of this- I forgive you. But get over yourselves.