Unconditional love…what a concept!

Hello dear reader.

It’s been a bit, I know.  Between headaches, CASA, and wedding plans, I’m sure you’ll excuse my absence.  Soooo, the day after tomorrow I will be a married woman.  I’m SO excited.  The last few weeks have been insane trying to make sure everything is set up and ready for Saturday.  I have worked my butt off!  Finally, everything is in place and ready and I can relax and enjoy the fruits of my labors.  I try to be  unpredictable when I write, but today I’m going to (predictably) talk about this man I’m going to marry and how much I love him.  

How do I know marrying him is the right thing to do, that it will work?  The really simple answer to that is that Tim and I have been to hell and back…a FEW times…and we still like each other.  Yes, I said LIKE.  I think like is even more important than love.  I have loved people that I didn’t like at all, and it was miserable.  We are best friends.  I look forward to spending time with him.  I laugh with him.  I tell him things I won’t tell most people, things you can only tell a very close friend.  Quick story – Not long ago, when Tim was between jobs, we were SO broke!  We were getting food from the church, were behind on ALL the bills, the bank account was overdrawn, and we didn’t know when any of that would change.  We were sitting together holding hands while watching the dogs playing and looking at a spectacular sunrise.  Both of us said, “I love our life!”  How crazy is that?  Logically we probably should have been completely stressed out.  But we both felt happy and contented just being together.  THAT’s how I know.

I’ve learned with Tim what love is supposed to be like.  He loves me simply for who I am.  He supports and encourages my dreams and aspirations.  He makes me feel smart and pretty.  He considers it his mission to make me laugh at  least once a day.  Okay, some of you are probably saying, “Okay, and the big deal is….?”  If so, you’re a very fortunate person. The big deal is I have never in my life had anyone love me like that, unconditionally and completely.  All the way back to my childhood, any love I got from anyone  was conditional.  I was loved if I did this or that and did it this way or that way.  I was loved only if I was willing to give up what I wanted and felt to do and feel what someone else wanted me to.  My dreams were to be a good mother or wife or daughter, to make someone else happy so that they would love me.  My aspirations were to do things well enough to earn someone’s love.  You know, I think that’s actually the core of it….I don’t have to earn Tim’s love.  He gives it to me…a gift, not as payment for something.  That is the big deal.  It’s something which was extremely difficult for me to learn to accept and trust.

I honestly think I’ve always tried to love that way, unconditionally.   I can’t say I’ve always been able to.  I’m not making excuses for that, but I have learned why I failed at it.  When two people give to each other freely and gladly, both of their hearts stay full because they’re being given at least as much as they are giving.  When one person is giving and the other is taking, the giver’s heart grows cold and empty eventually because there’s nothing to fill it up.  As I said, nobody ever gave me unconditional love, so there was nothing to keep my heart full and I eventually gave up. 

Don’t get me wrong…I’m nowhere near perfect,  I came into every relationship I’ve ever been in (besides the one with my parents) with a lot of my own baggage and misconceptions.  I had a horrible view of myself.  I thought I could never do or give enough to really deserve love from someone else.  I was only partially right.  I could never do enough to earn someone’s love.  All I can do is give my love freely and accept Tim’s love in return.  But I do deserve love.  It’s ironic when I think about it.  Only after I took the time to learn to love myself simply for who I was (am) was I able to trust and accept that anyone else could.

Okay, I’m getting mushy here.  But in less than 48 hours I will marry a wonderful, loving, compassionate, funny, giving, and VERY good looking man.  I think a little mushy is allowed,  :-}

Until next time…

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Contrasts

Hello dear reader.

Two weeks from today I will be married to the love of my life.  It feels surreal.  I told Tim this morning that I am so happy and my life is so amazing that it scares me.  I keep expecting to wake up.  We have a great house in the most beautiful place on earth.  All of my children and grandchildren are healthy and happy.  We have the best friends anyone could ever have.  Tim has a job that he loves and we can live on.  Every morning we wake up to birds singing outside our window.  We start our days drinking coffee and laughing at the dogs.  I’m making progress in getting my pain under control.  I get to be a voice for children who need a voice.  I’m marrying a man who is loving, compassionate, loyal, and keeps me laughing.  I get to be married to someone who was, is, and always will be my friend.  This is my life?  Really?  How did this happen?  How did I get here from where I’ve been?

I started out as a physically and sexually abused child.  I went from there to being in physically abusive relationships.  I have to say though, I’d do it all again to have my kids.  They were the only good thing in my life.  All I wanted was for them to have a happy childhood and grow up to be happy people.  I wanted their lives to be the opposite of mine both as children and adults.  I know that I wasn’t always the mother I wanted to be, and I’m still not.  But they had at least one thing that I never did…I loved and will always love all of my children with all my heart.  People say about their children, “I’d die for them.”  I did more than that.  I lived for them when dying would have been a lot easier.  I’m getting off on a tangent here, but I suppose I needed to say that.  Back on topic…I went from physically abusive relationships to an emotionally abusive one.  I’ve never had anyone love me.  Everyone who claimed to love me, actually loved their image of what they wanted me to be.  I always put who I was or wanted to be in the background to be what I was “supposed” to be.  Even now I often don’t seem to live up to my children’s expectations of who they think I should be.

Fast forward to me at almost 50…I find myself in a relationship with someone who loves who I am, a relationship with no abuse at all.  This is a relationship where not only am I allowed to be myself, but respected, admired, and encouraged to be myself.  I grow and flourish in ways I never knew I could.

Can you see why it all seems so surreal?

I know I’ve said some things in here today that will make you smile and other things that will make you shudder.  That’s my life.  But today, now, I’m all smiles.  I have a life that I never even dreamed was possible.  I’ve lived way too many nightmares.  If this is a dream, please don’t wake me up.

Until next time…