It's been pretty rare, but every once in awhile I've gotten a comment from someone that goes something like this, "I could never do what you're doing."*
I know it's meant as a compliment. The person saying these words is trying to tell me that I'm doing a good job with my child. They're commenting on my strength and trying to let me know that they look up to me. They're letting me know that they see that sometimes my life is hard, which is a nice thing to acknowledge.
The underlying message, though, is clear: "Your life looks like it must be horrible. I'm so glad I'm not you."
It's such a strange comment to me. What's the alternative to "doing what I'm doing"? Give away a child who isn't our society's definition of perfect (even though he's perfect in my eyes)? Emotionally distance myself? Give up on trying to develop my child to be the best person he could possibly be? To me, those aren't options.
The truth is, you could do what I'm doing. You could and you would...at least I hope you would for your child's sake. If your child got into a car accident and were forever altered, would you abandon them? Or would you step up and try to help them recover? Our situation isn't any different, except for the timing of the injury.
There is a really sad trend in our society in which we think love is conditional, that it's something we have no control over. This is more common in romantic relationships where you might hear one person proclaim with a shrug of the shoulder, "I just fell out of love with him/her." When have we stopped taking responsibility for our emotions? Love is a choice, not just a feeling. This is especially true when a couple decides to get married. Does anyone even listen to their vows anymore? In sickness and in heath. Good times and bad. Not...well, I guess I'll stay with this person until I'm just not feeling it anymore.**
Does this carry over into parenthood too? Can we only love a "perfect" child? I would hope not, as you're going to have an incredibly hard time finding one to love!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that true love is unconditional. True love is loving someone as God would love someone.
If you want to see an example of true love, watch the following clip. It's been floating around facebook, so you've maybe already seen it. If you're a diehard American Idol fan, then you've definitely already seen it.
Grab your kleenex.
This is what true love looks like, people.
A couple of disclaimers:
*I'm not picking on anyone here with the "I couldn't do what you're doing" comment. I can't remember the last time someone said that to me or even who it was (it's no one that reads this blog as I wouldn't feel comfortable writing about it if it were), nor am I really offended my the comment. I'm just trying to make a point about the underlying message in such a comment.
**I'm not making a judgement call on anyone for having gotten a divorce. Please know that I understand that sometimes there just isn't any other choice. Again, I'm just trying to make a point about the nature of love.