Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Unconditional

When thoughts are at the tip of my fingers and I desperately need to put them down, I have no question about why I write. It's cathartic. It's the "why I share" that I am often asked to defend. I don't share it because I am a particularly good writer or because I profit in any way. I share because I am an avid reader. I read all day, every day. So much of what I read touches me, appalls me, moves me and often scares me. But, it reaches me. There are days I will read something and I will swear I must have written it or that the author must have a secret window to my soul. And it is that feeling of being understood, of being less alone, less afraid, that pushes me to share. It is not always easy or comfortable but it is always worth it.

My parents just left after an incredible 4 day weekend together. The first in my new house, the first with me alone with my kids. I am incredibly sad, but even more grateful. My parents are as "normal" as anyone else, but to me they are the epitome, the picture of unconditional love. I thought about writing them a letter in private, but realized that is simply not my way.

In life, there are very few people who can and will love us unconditionally. For me, that is my parents. I talk a lot about "who shows up" and "loving us when we are unlovable." In my almost 40 years, I can honestly say there has not been a single time that my parents were not there when I needed them. Physically, emotionally, financially - all of it. They have delivered tough love when I've been an idiot and been my soft place to land when my world was falling apart. They always show up. They always make their love known. There are no conditions to their love. They do not wait to be asked or invited. They do not back down in my defense and they do not lie when I am wrong. They are simply always there.

We fight, we are Jewish, loud, opinionated and human; of course we fight. They drive me crazy and I them. We are as imperfect as any family, with our skeletons, our insanity, our "ways" and our stupid jokes. But they are always there. They have taught me more than anyone else ever has about life, love and my own worth. They have shown by example what it means to be a family. They have cared for our sick, our elderly and our broken. They have rarely asked for help, but when they do it is always with a thread of regret at having to.

This weekend they helped turn my house into my home. My father worked tirelessly, for days, handing, drilling, nailing, screwing, measuring, but never complaining. All the while only concerned that we would not have accomplished everything on my list. He is my hero. He is a saint with endless patience, love and devotion. My mom never stopped planning, making lists and approving everything we did. She is my greatest advocate, my best critic and the voice in the back of my head. As a child there was little my parents did not sacrifice to give my brother and I everything we needed. The 12 year old brat I was never understood why I couldn't have everything I wanted too. Like all of the kids around me. As a parent, I get it and realize it was likely the most valuable lesson they taught us.

My greatest wish is that I am half the parent to my girls. That I sacrifice my needs for theirs when it makes sense. That I instill in them the same self worth, unconditional love and support I have and that I always show up. At the end of the day, that one act is all we need.


1 comment:

Adam Gries said...

Awesome Jess! Unconditional love and acceptance is the cornerstone of any relationship. Hopefully, we learn it from our parents (like in your case), so that we may posses the ability to offer it ourselves even in the midst of our greatest moments of self-doubt and judgment. Then, when we pass it on to our children, they will feel the authenticity behind it. To me, that is the greatest gift a parent can give to a child. You are blessed to have your parents. And your girls are lucky to have you shine that light on them.
nothing but love,
Adam