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Unconditional Love . . .

I’ve recently made a very interesting and to be honest, rather confronting discovery . . . . I’ve never been loved unconditionally! By anyone! Ever!

How do I know this? Well recently I got a dog, Reuben. He has become a very central part of my life (no he hasn’t displaced my sons, however much they want me to believe that Reuben is now my “favourite child”). My boys are all at the end of their teenage years which is giving me more time to spare, that I’ve been able to redirect to spend with Reuben.

Now Reuben, as any dog owner will already know, just LOVES, loves, loves me. No ifs, no buts, he just loves me. He’s excited when I get home, he loves it when we go for walks, swims, shopping, frolicking, driving. As long as he can hang with me he is so, so happy. I’ve recently realised that this is what unconditional love is!

But don’t you get that from your parents? You may ask . . . . Well sadly no, I don’t. I won’t bother going into the nitty gritty detail of it but my father died when I was very young and, well, truthfully, as beautiful and determined and self sufficient as my mother is, loving others is not a part of her skill set. Lately as she is getting on in age too she is getting more and more challenging to deal with. Sadly nothing I seem to say, get or do for her is ever good enough and I’ve finally come to the realisation that I am obviously not the child she was hoping for when she gave birth to me.

It’s been a while coming this realisation and the decision I’ve recently made, to be at peace with the fact that whilst my mother may have wanted a child of her own, I definitely wasn’t the model she wanted, that she cannot and doesn’t love me. I’m ok knowing that no matter what I do for her it will not be the “right” thing for her, or good enough or at the right time or place, or with the right people, etc. I’m also ok knowing that despite the fact that I don’t miss her when I don’t talk to her or see her for weeks, she will probably live a long life in her little home down the road. For it’s always the parents of children who would be fine without them that manage to hang on the longest.

I have several friends who’s mother or father left this earth too early for them and miss them every day. Although there are moments where I feel it would be good to have the advice of a wiser older man around in the form of my father, I have learned to live and survive without this too because I have had to. I realise that I am now very comfortable in this way.

In short, to me my mother has become a “should do” proposition.

  • I should go and visit mum this morning.

  • I should call her to see if she is ok.

  • I should get her a walker that will help her to be more independent and allow her to do some shopping on her own.

  • I should see if she needs to put in a larger shopping order for heavy things.

  • I should . . .

And before you come down on me heavy with judgement, yes I do, do all these things for her, what I’m saying is that I now no longer do it with a happy and loving heart. I do it because she is my familial responsibility and that’s it. Every child seeks love from their parents first of all. This is where they get programmed as to what “real” love is, in their first seven years of existence in living with their family. It is a sad day for me too, to realise that my mother will never be able to love me. That in her eyes I am unlovable because I do not conform to her expectations of the dutiful child. That I am not worthy of effort on her part to find things about me to love.

But I digress, so let’s get back to my original point of realising what unconditional love is, and I realise that whilst my mother may not have taught me what unconditional love is, what I have learned from her is what it is not and these lessons I have unwittingly incorporated into my own life in the raising of my sons. My connection with my boys is very different from my lack of connection to my own mother. I am happy to say that my boys and I do talk and we do laugh together every day and we do enjoy each other’s company and for this I am very, very grateful every day!

Whilst I love my boys always, there are days that we don’t all rub along together well. Thankfully, though, after a little space, we each of us manage to put whatever was bothering us behind us, or talk it through and then move on to newer and better things. We’re not perfect and truthfully I wouldn’t want us to be, I just want us to be our-selves with each other. If I have achieved this with my boys and they see that I accept them as they are, then I firmly believe we are that much closer to loving and accepting each other with love unconditionally. This I see as a very great gift (possibly the greatest gift) that any parent can give to a child.

#LoveUnconditionally #FamilialResponsibility #PuppyLove #UnconditionalFamilialLove

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