A wonderful surprise, a gift this morning to re-read this poem from 2008.
Tag Archives: unconditional love
I came across this insightful and thought-provoking TED Talk and wanted to share this with as many people out there as possible (and with Mina when she’s older, of course)!
You don’t have to be a parent to find his talk moving and compelling, only human. “Diversity is what unites us. … [T]he experience of difference within families is universal, as are the struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love.”
Another quote with profound meaning to me: “Love is something that ideally is there unconditionally throughout the relationship between a parent and a child. But acceptance is something that takes time. It always takes time.”
This distinction he made between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance was an aha moment for me. This distinction is something I knew by experience, by living through the pain of nonacceptance from my family; but something I was never able to make sense or articulate. All I managed to do through it all was LOVE. “LOVE, NO MATTER WHAT,” as his title says. Yes, indeed. And in the end, almost miraculously in my eyes, my parents have come around to accept me and my family for who we are.
Now, seeing that fine line and separating the two gives me an odd sense of security and relief. I’ve arrived here: a calm understanding and compassionate resignation that acceptance from those unwilling will take time, on their time.
There is a lesson here for just about anyone willing to listen and give the next 23 minutes a chance. Profound meaning is here, wherever we are; but only found to those who are open and present. Both his books, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression are on my reading list now!
“Andrew Solomon’s newest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter. Woven into these courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.”
Another month’s escaped me since I first drafted this post…no more “Save Draft” for more edits, touch-ups. With less time to write (let alone edit!), I just need to let the words out and let them be. Just love them as they are, as I do my Mina.
It’s been 2 months since my last post, 2 months since Mina’s first day of Friends & Me class. Where does the time go? Days, weeks, months just move too quickly…Mina is surely growing up too fast! I can’t catch up to do the thing I really want to do: WRITE! I just have to make time! Just Do It, right?
Today, I was touched by this quote:
“The best advice I’ve ever given — I hope — is that which I gave to my son when he was growing up. He said, ‘I don’t have any friends. How can I get some friends?’… I told him two things. I told him, ‘In order to get a friend, you have to be a friend…’ And also I told him, ‘There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate. You must keep it pristine, clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody. No mother, father, no wife, no husband, nobody.'” – Dr. Maya Angelou
Makes me wish I was given this gift of advice when I was young but more greatly, makes me happy and proud to be able to share Maya Angelou’s advice with Mina (when she’s older, of course!). I daydream about all the wonderful things I hope we’ll get to share as mother and daughter, as us as a family.
I’m not fooling myself; I am fully aware it won’t ALL be happy, breezy times. There’ll certainly be challenging times beyond anything I could ever imagine now, but I hope I’ll be able to live through them with love and grace.
I smile thinking about all the wonderful things we already share: hugs & kisses, tickles & laughter, stories & poetry, even demands & tantrums.
Motherhood has been by far the most amazing gift ever, especially because I get to share this magical journey of parenting with the love of my life. We have our moments. He breaks my favorite bodum cup. Honey! I break our special artwork mug. Sorry! He runs my delicate new top in the dryer. Again! I nag at him. Sorry…
Yet, even in the most annoyed moments, we know that it is just that, MOMENTS. It’s fleeting, only momentary, never here to stay. Even at the height of our annoyance, we each know, without a doubt, that we love and that we are loved.
Our love is never harmed or touched, only opens to reveal the unfathomably resilient unconditional love. It’s like what Maya Angelou’s saying. Our love is what we keep inviolate; we protect, keep our love safe and whole, with all its flaws and magic intact.