Saturday, October 31, 2009
Fighting for Love.
(This is a paraphrase from The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai, a fantastic read!)
Every time life challenged us, we felt like lost children in the woods, whining, blaming, crying out loud. We had to remember the other times when similar things happened; we had to find our way out of the woods.
I'm constantly amazed at how much investment we have in our ideas of what love is. We form those ideas quite early, and mostly uncosciously. We refine them as we read, experience, watch how love is portrayed in the movie, talk to others.
As our children grew, we heard our words as we counseled them on how to navigate friendships, careers, dating. We told them that good friends must be cultivated, as we cultivate a plant that is fragile. We told them to treat others with respect, to put other's needs above self, and to walk away from toxic relationships. Do all you can; but if he/she cannot help himself from being abusive and destructive, and what you do doesn't help, you must move on. Some things cannot be changed.
As we verbalized these beliefs, we strentghened our own resolve.
We added one more thing: Tell the truth about how you feel, and never sulk in silence.
Thank God for cars, because we took many rides, for hours and hours, hashing things out. At times, we'd be gone half a day, children in the backseat listening to their walkmen, while we discussed things up-front. Yes, they saw us talking; they saw us angry and upset.
We kept painting our picture of Perfect Love. We kept adding strokes and color, erasing missed marks and sloppy lines, appreciating one thing, detesting another.
In our earlier years, I thought PL came in with flowers and gifts and sweet nothings whispered unexpectedly.
In my later years, I have seen PL wash the dishes in the middle of the night, adjust the pillows and the temperature to my liking before I go to bed, and remember that I like the fish platter at Wheelhouse on Mondays.
He had to teach me about the venality of sweet nothings; I had to teach him abou the weight of dishes.
These lessons took a lifetime. We hope our children learned them too, and their journey eased as a consequence.
p.s. This post received Post of the Week for Nov. 4th. from Hillary at Smitten Image.
Thank you Hillary.