Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just When You Least Expect it

African lion (Panthera leo) mother and cub, Kenya, Africa

Just when you least expect it.....

the special moments happen.

I tucked my mother in. I kissed and hugged her, turned off the lights, and said a prayer.

She smiled and drifted off to her dream world...while I thought about how random the loving and important moments are, how unexpected, how little we can predict when our hearts will be struck by the lightning bolt of raw love.

There is no more raw love than that of mother and child. I have been blessed to experience both.

No relationship is more primal.

My mother can drive me nuts. I drive her nuts on a regular basis,too. Just ask her. She will tell you lots of detailed, long stories about how I drive her nuts. I've probably bored my loved ones with a few myself.

But let me tell you this: I love my mother. I am grateful for my mother.

She reminded me tonight that I wouldn't exist if she hadn't had a miscarriage....that sometimes the disappointments in life turn out to be conduits to the blessings.

To know you are completely, unconditionally loved by your mother is one of life's greatest gifts. To know you are perfect in someone else's eyes (even if you know it's not true)is a rare chord that is recorded in your head and resonates in your heart when you need it most, when no one else is playing that music in your life.

And to love others that way---spouse, children, the occasional pet---is a gift of equal value. It makes sense of why we are here. Or it makes nonsense of the world outside of unconditional love.

I used to think there was no such thing as unconditional love. I mean, come on, doesn't love need to be deserved? Isn't it the sum of the equation? The reward for actions? What's left over after the subtraction of mistakes and disappointment?


Love is in the core of our hearts, bypassing our heads altogether perhaps, imprinted on our DNA like the color of our eyes, our hair, our skin.

I am loved--perhaps irrationally and undeserved---by my elderly mother. And I love--rationally, irrationally, and completely deserved---my children, husband...and my mother. Others, too. But that's for another blog.

For now, let me say I am grateful for the unexpected, blessed moments of the last two days. Watching my 87-yr-old mother do her "Happy Dance" at rest stops on our 9-hr. drive to a new home....sunbathing in 40 degree weather...dancing to the country western music video channel because it's good exercise...

I am unconditionally in love. And somehow I am unconditionally loved back.

OK, God. I'm getting it. A little bit anyway.


  1. This touched my heart....
    And I'm glad that you are both safely in Oregon.


  2. I found you this morning through Kelle Hampton's blog, Enjoying the Small Things. I too have an empty nest, and an elderly parent. My father lives next door and we are at the beginning stages of transitioning to our opposite roles with each other. I have lost two mothers, my bio mother when I was 19 and my stepmother of 25 years. I may be approaching 50, but I miss having a mother. I want a mother. My daughter wants a baby (and is having difficulties getting/staying pg.) and I want a mother. Isn't life just like that sometimes!

    My dad keeps bemoaning his "uselessness." I keep trying to convince him that he is loved and wanted and needed for no other reason than that he is. He exists and is my father, the reason I am here. I don't need him to be or do anything special or specific. He is, and I love him. It was easier to convince my children of that when they were little than it is to convince my father.

    I look forward to following your blog.

  3. I am honored to have you follow my blog!

    To experience the parent/child bond from both perspectives is a blessed gift...but a confusing and exhausting one at times when the lines blur. Which is often. It strikes me now that perhaps that's the point, that this midlife "sandwich" time is the way it's supposed to be for reasons that aren't clear to me now but are beginning to whisper in my ear.

    Your words about loving your father just because he "is" have touched me. The very definition of unconditional love...maybe after being a parent and feeling the purest form of unconditional love from that perspective it is easier to give it to your parents, with no strings attached....because we now know what they gave us.

    And maybe, just maybe, your dad really knows how valuable he is in your life...but loves to hear it over and over...because, well...what better pleasure for a parent than to hear that? Keep on telling him. Even though I'm willing to bet, he knows. :-) And you have reminded me of this right when I, myself, needed to hear it.