Dear Daughter & Son (this time)
Love is the most obvious “why life is great” posting, but I wanted to wait until today to post it because it’s mom and dad’s 25th wedding Anniversary. While this is the most obvious, it is also one of the most complicated and long winded postings ever. Philosophers, psychiatrists, poets and bartenders have been discussing this subject for centuries and still get it wrong. This is way over my head, but I will at least attempt to offer you some of my thoughts. Keep in mind that these are my thoughts and love is very subjective, but very cool.
I’m extremely happy being married to your mom, not sure she will say the same? I think I got the better end of that bargain! Kidding, the truth is that I think we both feel lucky and at the same sometime believe the other person is also lucky. That’s how it should be!
Anyway, I’m not suggesting you have to ever get married, stay married or even be in a traditional relationship with someone. Each person has to find and select their own path regarding such personal things and sometimes life conspires to prevent us from attaining whatever relationship status we desire. But love something and be a person you yourself can love. Love another person even if it’s platonic, a pet, a cause, a child, books, education, culture, cheese… just have something to pour your passion into. It needs to flow out. We are meant to love and be loved – we need both. Love nourishes us and the energy we get from that nourishment should ideally be used to love something outside ourselves. Otherwise, it’s like a person that just eats and never moves around; you get overweight and unhealthy.
Now loving someone else is always risky; they could reject you, leave you, betray you, or even die, which could feel like a betrayal when you’re alone. Sadly, we are not perfect beings and there is even a chance that one day you could be the cause for ending what you thought was a good relationship. If this happens, you may feel guilt and deep regret over it. If you’re still young, forgive yourself and learn from it; don’t take people for granted and it’s never too late to apologize to someone. If you’re older and more experienced with relationships and this happens, then you need to think about what you really want from another person? Again, never too late to apologize.
All that said, love is “almost” always worth the risk. The heart often desires people we never previously imagined. The magic often strikes when you least expect it. Yes, you’re father is a bit of a romantic, but I’m also a realist. I understand that I’m a human being, my heart could be attracted to someone that would be disastrous for me (your mom is probably nodding her head at this comment thinking it happened to her). Be open to love, but remember you still have a brain and use it! Ask yourself what it is you want out of life and a relationship? If this person doesn’t seem to fit the bill, maybe it’s time to move on. Better to be alone and available then stuck in something that doesn’t feel right. I’m not saying that you should hold out for the perfect person (your mom didn’t), I’m saying hold out for the right person for you. If you want a life long partner, then keep in mind the word “partner.” If you think that you want kids, ask yourself if that person would make a good parent? I know, your mother should have asked herself that one!
You need to understand that you cannot and should not desire to control your partner in life; other then to tell them that they can’t have a second Ferrari, for some reason that’s acceptable. Your partner has free will, this makes your mom’s decision to tolerate me all these years even more precious. Despite my deep love for your mom and vice versa (I hope), there are lines we know that each of us can never cross – crossing those lines would end the relationship. Maybe the marriage would survive, but the great relationship as it stands today would cease to exist. This is not a matter of stubbornness or inability to forgive, but self-respect.
So why did I say love is “almost” always worth the risk and not “always?” I hope this never happens, but there may be times in your lives where you might be too emotionally fragile to risk carelessly jumping into loving someone. There are events in life that can deeply wound us; it could be a broken heart, the death of someone you loved, an illness, or sometimes life’s demands can overwhelm us. When you feel wounded and in a vulnerable state, you cannot just allow anyone to tend to healing you. I’m not suggesting not to allow yourself to fall in love again while tending to a wounded heart, because often love will be the best medicine for it. I’m just suggesting to be more careful at such times. There will be people that will be good medicine for what ails you and sadly there will be people who could simply be poison to you.
Ideally in your life you will never stop loving yourself and will forever strive to become the person you want to be. So should you be in a relationship and that person leaves you, while it will hurt, you should conclude after some heartache, that they lost something special – you. If you’re not mentally in such a place, then be more careful. As long as we are alive, mom and dad will be an unending source of love for you, but trust me, that will not be enough, although I suspect you already know that?
A relationship can be a contradiction. I don’t think I’d feel whole if I lost your mom, but I need to feel whole to be of value and respected by your mom and vice versa. We are deeply dependent on each other, but at the same time must still be individuals in order to have something new to share with one another. I know to you guys it just sounds like we are always saying the same thing. It’s mostly true; 50% of our conversations are about you kids and as we age, the new stuff is mostly about what ails us.
So, since we are discussing love – your mom and I adore you kids. You’ve made it very easy to love you and you have no idea how often I think about you and smile each and every day. Your mom, I assume, smiles too and then clenches her teeth because she probably recalls the labor pains. Sounds corny, but this has been the greatest surprise and gift in my life, how much joy you’ve brought me. It’s also the scariest thing because you’ve made us totally vulnerable. Our happiness and well being is completely intertwined with yours. I hope that you both find something in your lives that make you feel completely happy and fulfilled and I hope it’s healthy and legal.
Anyway, it’s a good thing that our anniversary happens during winter break so you have time to read this long-winded diatribe… if you read it at all?
Word of the Day: Acquiesce (verb)