I recently came upon this quote from a man called Osho and found it quite compelling:
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.”
And I say “wow” because I fear that far too many of us confuse love with ownership. It happens in song (“Please be mine”), it happens in marriage (“To have and to hold”) and it happens in virtually every romantic relationship. Which is funny, because it does not happen in our other relationships. I don’t need to own my girlfriends to love them dearly. They can cheat on me all they want with any number of other girlfriends and I am fine with it. I don’t own my girlfriends and they don’t own me. But we do love each other.
Same with my son. Do I wish he stayed in better touch? Of course. Do I wish he came to visit more often? Indeed I do. Do I wish he coveted my company as much as I covet his? Yes indeedy once again. Do I love him and does he love me? Big time. And just because he is a young adult with many things other than Mommy occupying his brain cells in no way diminishes our mutual love. Because I don’t own him. And just to be clear, he does not own me either, which is why I had no problem moving two hours away from him. I figured our love could handle it.
And then I think about my ex-husband. I’m not sure if he loves me anymore or not. He was never the world’s most emotive individual and although we are civil and even cordial in our limited relations now (10 years post-divorce) I’m not sure if he still loves me.
I mean, seriously, why would he? I left him. For another man. That makes me horrible and untrustworthy and despicable and unworthy of his love, right?
Because that only makes me horrible and unworthy of his love if his love equates ownership. You see, I never ever even for a moment ever stopped loving that man. I just stopped wanting to make a life with him. I stopped wanting to be his and only his. The love was still there. But the desire to experience a different kind of love prevailed. This I am quite sure he knows.
So now we come to definitions. I mean, how many different kinds of love are there?
I have no clue. A million?
What I do know, however, is that once love exists … truly exists … it does not vanish and you cannot kill it. And if you are prepared to NOT confuse love with ownership, and if you are prepared to love without addiction, whether or not it is returned, then I do believe you will experience love in its truest form.
When we first split up, my ex gave me birthday cards and Christmas gifts and Easter flowers and Mother’s Day wishes. One year he forgot Mother’s Day but called that night (to discuss something kid-related) and at the end of the call I said “Don’t you have something else to say to me?”
“Today of all days, don’t you have something to say to me, the mother of your one and only child?”
“Oh my God, Vickie, sorry … Happy Mother’s Day!”
And I explained to him that he could rightfully ignore every other occasion on the calendar and I would understand buy Mother’s Day??? Seriously? He has one child and I am the mother of that one child. I think that deserves a little love.
After that special day, for several more years, I got a card or an email greeting or something.
Until this year. This year I got nothing.
And it made me sad to go unacknowledged by the father of my one and only child on Mother’s Day. Honest. I wasn’t expecting roses or a card or even stolen lilacs. Just an email. An acknowledgment.
I’m not really sure why. I can speculate to the moon and back and I suppose I could even ask him but the one thing I cannot do his alter his definition of love. And if for some reason, after ten years and a seemingly blissfully happy union with his new woman he still equates his love for me with an ownership (or lack thereof) which somehow diminishes my importance as the mother of his one and only child – well who am I to argue? I can be sad. But who am I to argue?
So two things, folks:
#1 – All you divorced fathers out there – I don’t care how inhospitable your separation was or is, get over it and acknowledge the mother of your child(ren) on Mother’s Day. Teach your children love.
#2 – It is Father’s Day this Sunday. A part of me (you know, the normal part) wanted to ignore my son’s father the way he ignored me. But I didn’t. I mailed him a card. Real old-fashioned mail. And that card wasn’t a Father’s Day card but a “love” card. And that love card concluded with the immortal words “Love never ends.”
It doesn’t. And it won’t. Not for me.