Unconditional.

January 6, 2009 at 9:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Or: Clarifying a comment I made in my last post. Probably more than you care about.

When J and I first moved in together, we had a lot of problems. Part of it was that I was out of work, yet again, and depressed about it, while he was in business school (and busy).

But I was really REALLY hard on him. Over the course of about six months, we fought almost all the time. And he would say things like “I can’t win” and “I feel like I’m failing you” and “Why are you even with me?”

It wasn’t until much later that I realized what was going on.

I was the one who would start the fights.

Why?

I was TESTING him. Trying to get him to fall out of love with me. To see if there was a point where he’d walk away from me. I was searching for the point where his love would become conditional.

Because, see, that’s what I was used to.

My husband never wavered. Though there were times over that 6 months where I’m sure he didn’t like me very much, he continued to love me.

In fact, he loved me enough to propose.

And so. That was my first real experience with unconditional love.

And when we were trying, and pregnant, I knew that I wanted to ensure that, no matter what, our child (ren) felt loved all the time. I didn’t want them to grow up like I did, feeling like I had to behave/succeed/be good at something in order to earn my parents’ love.

And then I became a mom.

And my love for Baby O is so deep and wide and bright and to the very core of my being. I have a hard time imagining NOT loving him. Even when he tries my patience, and I’m tired, and all I want is for him to go to sleep already, dammit! – I always love him.

And he loves me. He murmurs “mama” when he’s crying at night. No matter how tired he is, I always get a big smile when I come home each night.

J and I are HIS WORLD.

Now. I’ve made my peace with my family. In fact, I got as close to an apology from my mother back in April as I’ll ever get. (“You and J are good parents,” she said. “There was a time in my life where I wasn’t a good parent.” I mumbled something placating like “well, you weren’t always a bad parent either.” And that was the end of our discussion.) And there most definitely will be times where I can imagine losing my patience with Baby O. Particularly when he’s older and tests us deliberately.

But Baby O’s simple and deep love for me makes me want to be a better person. A better mom. A better wife.

So when I say something like “I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve Baby O,” it’s not REALLY how I feel.

It’s more that I want to be the sort of person who deserves his unconditional love.

Because I think that parenting isn’t just about setting boundaries and teaching your child about the world around him. That’s a big part of it, but not everything.

It’s about mutual respect and love, too. And that’s something I’m vehement about with respect to my own parenting style. Bottom line is this. I want Baby O to grow up in an environment where he feels that he’s respected as a person. As an individual.

So. Anyway. That’s what I’ve been thinking about since I posted two days ago.

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18 Comments »

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  1. A lot of what you said here, I could have written. Especially about your parents–I had the same type of conversation with my mom recently (same type of issue where she sort of apologized, and I sort of made her feel better because I am over it).

    I think having the type of mom I had has made me a much better mom, because I am so aware of what I want to do differently. And one of the big things is to respect them as people. The other thing is to have fun with them–which, sometimes, I admit, I do not do as often because I get bogged down in all the day to day crap (esp. homework is such a buzz kill!!!).

    You are doing so much for O now–wait until he is older — you are going to be a great mom!

  2. My dad would always SAY he loved me unconditionally – but then tell me he would disown me if I did ‘x’ (fail math, dye my hair blue, join the crew team). Who knows how he felt inside – but to me – that wasn’t unconditional love. I know my mother loves me – but she never hugged me or said the words…. Back when I was first admiting I was pregnant – I was saying that all I really want for Cameron is to know that he is loved and supported in whatever he does.

    I know that most parents feel that way – but some have trouble showing it. And those parents that DON’T – that is why there should be a freaking test to pass when you have babies. My husband actually had a friend in high school whose parents often told him that they never wanted to have kids – nice huh?

  3. I’ve done the same with Mr. Badger – that pushing, but he’s still here. It’s amazing.

  4. This is beautiful and you put into words something I feel as well. I was raised this way and can’t imagine the feeling of having to add up to certain expectations.

    You are a fantastic mother and Baby O is so lucky to have parents that wanted him so intensly and are so committed to him having a great life!

  5. Wow! Do I ever relate to this post. My relationship with my DH is my first experience with unconditional love. I know my parents love me, but it’s kind of difficult for them to show it as they have their own emotional issues and they are not much older than me too.

    I think alot about how I felt when my brother was born and how I felt I lost my mother’s unconditional love when that happened. She found so many flaws in me after that time. I can’t see how I could do that to my daughter. Even if she does have flaws, I would never point them out. Lord knows I’m not perfect.

  6. Serenity,

    Beautiful post as always! You have put into words what I have been feeling for years….Thanks you!

  7. I love reading when you write about the love you feel for Baby O. It’s so beautiful. And inspiring.

    I feel the same way about Sacha, but certainly can’t convey it this well.

  8. I think your love and respect for both J and Baby O always comes across so clearly in your postings 🙂 Its so obvious that you adore them and they feel the same way about you. Its nice to see.

  9. “I want to be the sort of person who deserves his unconditional love.” Serenity, you hit the nail on the head.
    There are so many nights when I look at my daughter asleep in her bed and think “I made so many mistakes as a mother today”. And then I pray fervently exactly what you said. “help me be the mom she deserves”.
    This post is so beautifully written and makes me want to go and hug my babies. :o)

  10. perfect post! like others that have commented, i too could have written this post. thank you for your eloquence.

  11. I really admire your honesty … YOU make me want to be a better mom. 🙂 Also, my 13-year-old twin sons still have their great-grandmother. What a blessing.

  12. What a beautiful post. I am so glad you are the parent to your baby. 🙂
    And I am totally jealous that he says mama when he cries. I get it maybe once a week. But dada? Favorite word!

  13. that was a really beautiful post to show us how you are feeling about this parenting thing. I think all of us feel that, we want to “right the wrongs…Do things differently”. Somedays I hear my mother’s voice come out of me and other days it’s me , in love with my sons, even when they are trying me to the limit.
    I know how you feel, I tested Mr Kir a lot too…to make sure and having this love, come from these little people is just amazing and heals a lot of stuff. Right?

    Hugs

  14. What a beautifully written post. I think my kids sometimes get sick of me saying “I love you” but I don’t ever want them to doubt that.

  15. My husband does the pushing away in our relationship – your words give me a little different perspective. Thanks for that.

    As far as parenting goes – that’s my prayer too. To be the mother my daughter deserves, because she is so unique and precious.

  16. this is a beautiful post, serenity. thanks for sharing it.

  17. I love how you were able to put this into words. It’s not easy to convey these feelings. Great post.

  18. Beautiful thoughts. You inspire me.

    But commenting on your other posts – wow, the hair! The bigness! The little person-ness! I’m so glad you’re enjoying things at the moment.

    Bea


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