Category Archives: Parenting

Can I Love You Less?

Standard

“It’s a love like no other.”

baby-lovedAt least that’s what I’ve been told. I’ve also heard, “It’s the purest unconditional love” and “Like nothing else on Earth.” Maybe for you it is. But that’s not me.

You see, I recently became a grandparent, and all my grandparent friends congratulated me with sentiments like these. But I don’t get it. And it makes me feel like maybe I’m missing something.

Did I not love my children? Wasn’t that unconditional love? I cried when my babies were handed to me. I was overjoyed as I counted their fingers and toes. I saw my own hands in my son’s long fingers. Can anything compare to that?

Did I not love my husband? There were times it felt that our hearts melted together and we knew that in that moment we were both the same.

Do I not love my siblings? For certain, I love them and my friends unconditionally. They are who they are, and I accept that. We’ve shared joys and sorrows, fun and laughter. And even though I don’t speak to some of them very often, I still feel the same. Our history is still shared. Our memories are interwoven.

I loved my parents my whole life, and even though they’re both gone, I love them still.

I love my sons, both of them, equally. They are totally different and each has talents and characteristics that make him unique. I love that about them. And it doesn’t matter whether they become rich or successful or live as a struggling artist. I will always love them with all my heart.

And don’t all parents feel that way? So how is it that people freely say they love their grandchildren like never before? Do some people actually dole out less love to their children than they did to their parents? Or worse, do some people share less love with their aging – perhaps dying – parents than they do with this little person only months old?

Evidently, they do. They hold back their hearts. I don’t understand it because we are the ones who lose out. When we hold love back because of hurt. Or when we hold it back out of fear that it won’t be returned. Or when we hold it back out of anger or because we think others aren’t worthy. Or worse, when we believe we aren’t worthy.

The way I see it, love is not something that is dependent on who the recipient is…whether your parent, spouse, child or neighbor. Love is a result of the giver. You either give love or you don’t.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you felt the same love for your father, despite his dementia and constant need for attention, that you do for the infant with her inability to communicate and total dependence?

And of course you can. Because it’s your decision how much you love.

It doesn’t matter that you have a history with someone or not. It’s the same with this little baby girl who hasn’t yet spoken my name – or should I say the name she will eventually call me. Does it matter that I don’t have to put her to bed every night? Does it matter that she looks equally like her other side of the family as she does mine? Not at all. But then, it never mattered with my sons either. It didn’t matter how they did in school. Or whether they excelled at sports. I love them fully. I don’t think I could love anyone more. Or less.

Because love doesn’t vary with the way others behave. It’s not love that changes. Love only varies when we decide not to give it.

It’s just a choice we make to feel or not feel it. And like every other decision, we can change it. We can give our hearts the freedom to love everyone. Equally. Because it’s our heart to give, it’s our choice how “in love” we feel. And once we open up our hearts and treat everyone with the love they probably don’t “deserve” but need just the same, the whole world changes. People know when they’re being treated with love. And they return it the same way it was given.

So do yourself a favor. If you want to be loved unconditionally, you must love others the same way. And without fail, they will love you back. All of them. Every time. They won’t be able to help themselves.

And believe me when I say it’s possible. Because I couldn’t love you less.

Advertisements

Just Don’t Fall

Standard

Up in a treeImage

Away from the others

That’s where you’d find me

Hiding from brothers.

Just a skinny little girl

Of five or six

Getting away from the world

And the neighbor kid’s tricks.

“You’ll break your arm!”

My mom would cry.

“Only if I fall!”

Was my confident reply.

Favorite of all was the little plum tree

That shaded the play yard

For my sister and me.

In the spring the blossoms would cover the branches

I’d climb even higher, taking my chances

Up to where the limbs were small

I’d shake them violently

And the petals would fall

Raining down flowers

I’d squeal “Here it comes!”

My mother would sigh

“We’ll never have plums.”

Pigtails and Politics

Standard

girl in pigtailsI’d like to convey a message from little girls everywhere – A message that even they don’t know how to express.

“Fuck You Disney!”

I mean… that’s what they’d say if they weren’t lovely little full-of-sugar-and-spice cherubs with ponytails in dresses sprinkled with flowers and butterflies. But if they knew what the women they are about to become know, they would definitely flip a Hello Kitty manicured finger.

What do women know that little girls don’t understand?

Brainwashing. There’s no other word for it. What else would you call a message that insists on depicting girls with no other goal than to find Prince Charming? After all, he’s your ticket out of (fill in the blank)…

Loneliness? Little Ariel traded her singing career and then disowned not only her entire family and all her friends (that lobster is so cute too), but her very existence for a boy she’s seen at the beach twice.

Drudgery and responsibility? Cinderella couldn’t wait to get out of the fire pit and wash house. Guess what girls… every castle that this prince wants to be king of comes fully equipment with kitchen and laundry facilities. Shoulda danced all night while you had the chance.

Your boring life?  Because nothing is more exciting than some mysterious beast of a man… the quiet, brooding type is so fascinating. Belle, honey, don’t bother with the dance lessons. Ain’t gonna happen.

Being unappreciated? No one knows as well as Snow White the amount of work there is in taking care of little people. Remember sweet sister that no kingdom is complete without heirs, and at least the dwarves brought home a paycheck.

Princes are nice, but gimme a break, that’s not ALL we dream about!  (Yes, I was once a little girl so I speak from years of experience.)

Wake up Disney! There are girls out there capable of curing diseases and starting businesses, designing skyscrapers and flying jets. We like adventure. We like space exploration and dinosaurs too. And just in case you haven’t heard, some of us drive race cars. There are little girls everywhere with talents and skills, and I don’t mean just ballet and baking.  Some of the best math brains are walking around in pink ruffles. And just because the outfit is totally coordinated and accessorized, don’t think there isn’t a future world leader behind that lip gloss.

So please stop force feeding women-in-training this one-trick-pony life. Because, by the way, little boys have no idea that it’s their job to keep the princess happy. (Whatever that takes)  They’re busy having adventures, exploring frontiers, and driving race cars.

You Say It’s Your Birthday. It’s My Birthday Too.

Standard

“Not the Barry Bonds, Mom. Ok? Not the Barry Bonds.” Barry_Bonds_follow_through

It’s been twenty years or so since my son Dylan said that.  Something had ended up broken – probably due to “just messin’ around” – and restitution was owed. Usually, I’d cover what losses were incurred, but for whatever reason, this time I had told him that it was coming out of his money. He smugly replied that he had no money. “Easy fix.” I said “You have baseball cards. I guess we’ll have to sell one of those.”  “The Barry Bonds” referred to the acrylic-encased prized rookie card.

Bonds is now considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. He has a record-setting seven MVP awards. He is a 14-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glove-winner. He holds numerous Major League Baseball records, including the all-time Major League Baseball home run record with 762 and the single-season Major League record for home runs with 73 (set in 2001), and is also the all-time career leader in both walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688).

But that’s not what made him special. Not to Dylan. He was special because he was born on July 24th.

That’s a big deal you see. It’s Dylan’s birthday.

Also born on July 24th? Alexander Dumas, author of The Count of Monte Cristo, Dylan’s favorite book.

I remember when he discovered the fact that people who had accomplished great things had been born on his birthday. A look came over him, a look of simultaneous amazement and pride. The look conveyed “Why not me?”

It’s been all downhill from there.

Dylan was convinced from that point on that being born on a day that special was proof of the magnitude of his own destiny.

And who am I to judge? Just a parent… trying to build the confidence of her eight-year-old. So yes, I agreed that being born on July 24th was indeed a most fortuitous event. The universe clearly had big things in mind to have him arrive on such a day. And that’s what I told him “You’re Dylan. And the Universe loves you.”

He’s a grown man now… married to his college sweetheart, expecting a baby girl next month. He works in the industry that has always fascinated him – Finance. He restored a bargain-priced foreclosed house into a very comfortable home in the mountains. And he is, by all accounts, the “nicest, most even-tempered guy” anyone has ever met… at least that’s what people tell me.

On his wedding day, one of his guests asked “Dylan, man, you have it all… a great house, a fantastic job, and now a beautiful wife. You just seem to get everything you want. How do you do it?” With his characteristic laugh and big smile, he replied, “I’m Dylan and the Universe loves me.”

All because of that one special day. And what do we know about birthdays? We all know birthdays are like… well, they’re like opinions… everybody has one. So who are the greats born on your day? Maybe it’s you.

“You say it’s your birthday

Well it’s my birthday too, yeah

You say it’s your birthday

We’re gonna have a good time

I’m glad it’s your birthday

Happy birthday to you.”
~ The Beatles

Love Misunderstood

Standard

I stood looking, hands hanging down

Not knowing how to overcome the animosity within.

Passion so deep – made of pure pain – rises to be heard, but is mute.

Voice is useless, baseless noise and the broken sounds fall on defensive guilt.

The wounded heart retreats.

Again.

Again.

Again.

But the light still streaks through crevices of the mind,

Streaming into the little places of insight.

Are the shadows too large for the tiny spark?

Give me something to burn and I will lift the veil.

Show me the keystone and I will tumble the tower.

Silence

Answered me

No,

The destruction cannot be won.

Collapse will begin when the conspiracy fails.

All truth becomes experience.

Surrender.

Image

Each Other

Standard

When I was afraid

You held my hand

And told me not to worry

You taught me trust

You led me and followed me

Saying I will go with you

I will be there

When I was afraid

Of what the future held

You knew it would be fine

You are all brave things

It’s time now

When you are afraid

Of what will come

In the darkness or the light

I will hold your hand

When you are afraid

I can say today is good

We will trust

In what the future holds

But you cannot stay

And I cannot go

Yet you will not be alone

When what will come, comes

It will be fine

You are all brave things