My birth mother taught me that love is something that can be so crazy that it might just kill you.
I was afraid of love for a long time. I didn’t want to be like her. She was manic about her emotions, either she loved so much that she was consumed by it. But when things went south, she was willing to die for that emotion. Repeated suicide attempts and threats, she knew only very hot or very cold.
My great-grandparents did all they could. Ultimately choosing to take me home from the hospital and raise me. I learned love from my Gram.
She taught me that love was giving me the last 3 musketeer bar in the package of tiny bars when we were both having a bad day. After my Pop died when I was 3, we had a lot of very bad days. I learned that love was hiding under the blankets, warm and safe with her… and the door locked as she sang Amazing Grace with a trembling voice and stroked my hair until I fell asleep.
After Pop died, we didn’t have a lot of options. When my birth mother wanted to live with us, we needed to do what we could. Even when she was scary.
My father taught me that you can walk away and never look back, even on family.
He and my mother were never together, maybe sexually but even that was only long enough to make a baby. He left and never looked back.
I think in his own way he loved me. He said so when as an adult I sought him out and did my best “good daughter” impression so that maybe he might like me. But he also taught me that just because you are a part of making a baby, that doesn’t make you a parent.
He died last year. I grieved for the last chance he had to be my Dad.
After my Gram died, I grieved hard for the loss of the idea of parents. Even though at the time both of my birth parents were still living. I grieved for the idea.. not the people. The idea of two people bringing a child into this world that they loved so unconditionally.
I became a mother at 17.
From the moment I saw my son on the ultrasound, everything I knew about love and motherhood was suddenly changed. For the better.
Love is sometimes harsh and makes you cry ugly tears.
Love comes in many different forms. Sometimes it is staying up all night and holding the bucket or just being the first to say you are sorry.
My parents taught me about love, but not in the way most think. They taught me that love is a gift, something that can be given and taken away. They taught me that the kind of human I want to be has nothing to do with how I came into this world. But still it is a lesson I’ll never forget.
What did your parents teach you about love?