Monthly Archives: June 2010

Unconditional Love, what’s that?

It’s been brought up on forums I’ve visited by both adoptees and first mothers. As Tupac Shakur said,

(What y’all want?)
Unconditional Love (no doubt)
Talking bout the stuff that don’t wear off

where is that? I see conditions in most relationships. I put out a lot of conditions in my daily life. I’ve got lots of expectations. I set conditions for my environment, for my friendships.

In a recent discussion of unconditional love I fell back to the Divine Miss M singing From a Distance. It’s so much easier to love from a distance. We can let go of our differences and align with the inner peace and harmony.

But we want it up close and personal. We want to be accepted and loved for who we are right here right now. We want to be understood and appreciated in our individual needs.

The primary example is usually a mother taking care of her infant, getting up through the night, washing, feeding, cuddling. Sometimes it’s idealized in romantic relationships. I’ve never seen that truly. Romance tends to exemplify multiple conditions of support and fidelity, etc.  So it’s mostly our parents we expect to love us unconditionally.

There seems to be doubt about whether God loves unconditionally amongst those of us that live in fear of going to hell.

God knows I have spent my life seeking it and holding to what I’ve found because it’s rare.  It’s precious. I nurture it and cultivate it and still it slips away. I was reading today of Buddhist practice to develop loving kindness and compassion as mental qualities to turn towards love in action. The concepts and discipline for transcending suffering are familiar.  Also the reminder that it takes practice for growth and fulfillment. Ah that word again, that condition, that I must practice, practice, practice. Is practice a condition for unconditional love?

We start out with the oxytocin rush when our babes are born. That same hormone pops into action in romantic love too. For the love to get past the two year mark takes more than hormones. How do we carry on? How do we love our children as they grow and experiment; cutting holes in their comforters to see what’s inside? getting arrested for vandalism? As they break away from us and the conditions we laid out for them to find their own way?

It varies. One of the most curious bits is that I didn’t know my own parents loved me unconditionally when I was a kid. They put out their standards of behavior to guide me in the best way they knew. As a   kid I took those guidelines as conditions for love rather than guidelines for a successful life. I didn’t understand their point of view at all and anticipated rejection because they didn’t love me the way I wanted them to. They didn’t understand me. But they loved me anyway as I learned later.

Some say that if they really loved me they would have helped me to keep my firstborn child. They wouldn’t have fallen for the pap about it being best for the baby to go to a “two parent home”. They would have given me what I wanted,  a home for me and my baby.

Or if they really loved their first grandchild they sure had a strange way of showing it, huh? If they loved that baby unconditionally they would have clung to it her (my first babe was a daughter) and kept it her safe themselves rather than cast it her out to the unknown world of people in better circumstances, better able to provide for this healthy white infant, (that sweet baby girl). That’s what some people say.

I’m wondering about unconditional love. Where is it? Where have you seen it? What can you tell me about it?

Can we make it? This song is one example.

I’d really love to learn about yours.

It feels odd to be sending out for your feedback when I’m getting ready to take off in a couple days. In the meanwhile, here’s to laughter, health, wealth and happiness for you and you and you and you…

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Bright Side of the Road

Although the statement “Turn that frown upside down” always repulsed me, I think it described my plan. From the start of our reunion twenty years ago, I thought that somehow I could learn to be patient enough, kind enough, and hang in long enough to change our reunion relationship to one of comfort and joy.  Based on results, I’ve been wrong all along. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

My naïve and selfish desire to switch out her pain and avoidance through a welcoming embrace was doomed by shortsightedness.  Fumbling through the rebirth of my aborted motherhood, I took her at her word instead of looking past the façade to the frightened child. I was “the adult”, but I didn’t act like it. I acted like the scared teenager. She was the scared teenager.

As it turns out, I’m not that patient or kind. I react and get my feelings hurt very easily. I get defensive and protective. I pretend that everything is fine when it’s not because I’m supposed to be the adult. I’m supposed to be ok. Instead I get scared and wish things would be easier. I get angry feeling I’m being pushed into a box, limited and judged. And I get tired of all of it.

What I understand is she is angry about the way I make me look good.  Having goodness in my life is not the problem. The problem is that it’s “at (her) expense”. I need to accept my responsibility for our relationship. I can’t blame her for my troubles. It’s certainly not her fault when I don’t get what I want.

I am pretty accustomed to it, but you can’t always get what you want. It is NOT my daughter’s fault that our reunion has not been all peaches and cream.

Yikes. That old bugaboo of what I think I’m supposed to be (ie. the adult) is still fooling me! Good lord I AM an adult. This is what adult is. No wonder we’re in trouble.

I am still here though, warts and all. Although I do have an appt next month to get a few blemishes burned off.