Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children. ~Rosaleen Dickson
It’s a bit of a sad day for me when I woke up to make my coffee this morning and instead of the 12 cup pot I have been making for the past week, I only needed to make an 8 cup pot. Why does this make me sad? The answer is that my dad and stepmom who have been visiting for the last week, left this morning to drive back to Oregon. As Q navigated around my feet, vacillating between trying to open the drawer where we keep all the plastic baggies so he could swiftly remove each one from their box and then the boxes themselves, and holding his arms up in the air to me saying “uh uh uh” which means “up up up”, I felt that sadness you get when you have to say goodbye for now to someone that you love. As I have gotten older and as I am now a parent, I realize the premise of unconditional love. When you are a child, it is really not something you consider for it “just is”. But as an adult with time and people who come in and out of your life you do truly realize how special it is to love and be loved unconditionally. Even as I type this, I know that I am fortunate to have parents with whom I have a very good relationship, for even in my own family there are bonds that are frayed by hurts and memories of wrongs in the past. Perhaps because of my own circumstances growing up, I have always had great empathy, which for the most part, has allowed me to be understanding of the mistakes people make which in turn allows me to not hold onto past transgressions in a way that would discontinue a relationship (that and the fact that I most definitely know that I am far from perfect and have to try every day to be the person I want to be and treat others as I want to be treated). Certainly, there are people who can be “toxic” in our lives and we have to do what we have to do, but we often too play a role in these situations (save extreme circumstances) especially as adults, for often we are responding to some deep-seed buried hurt from long ago which not only changes how we receive input but also how we process and react to it.
As life unfolds, it is most certainly up to us to decide how we give and receive love and to whom. Even with challenges, fighting, or not fighting which can lead to passive aggressiveness and resentment, at some point in our lives most all of us have been loved unconditionally and likely still are by the ones we call family. For today, I am speaking mostly about parents, but certainly this concept is not limited to parents and parenting. Today, as a child, and a parent, I truly realize that is really not all that easy to make and raise humans let alone be human. We make mistakes, fall down, hurt, give, and receive but above all we LOVE. To know and feel this love can bring great compassion to all other aspects of our lives. Family, friends, colleagues, bad drivers, and everyone else in between. Today is a good day to take a trip back in time to one happy memory from childhood where you bounced on a knee, or had a tea party, made a mud pie, ran through a sprinkler, went to the ice cream store, had a tickle fight or just had a quiet moment of being with your parents or your family (whoever you call family) and if you can’t find one pick one from today, like the first smile in the morning from our little ones, the moments between grandparent and grandchildren, the quick peck on the cheek before running out the door, the gift of acknowledgement (if you have a teenager this means a great deal), or the greeting of your pet. Each one of these flows from the current of unconditional love. For myself, I take these memories and moments of love and channel them into my relationship with KSP so that my love won’t ever become conditional and so that we as a unit can show E & Q that relationships can go up and down but that love will prevail. We can learn so much from these two simple words with huge implications, and by applying them and truly trying to know their meaning it can change entirely how we look at each new day and our relationships with others. So may today find you with the knowing and acknowledgment of unconditional love, whether it’s from your family, friends, your loving cat, dog or bird, wherever it comes from recognize it and make today your ‘newfavoriteday’.