Saturday, January 02, 2010

Relationships = e (squared)

Okay, I put "squared" in parentheses, because I couldn't figure out how to put the 2 on the top right of the e for the "squared" symbol. But that's really neither here nor there.

I was thinking about relationships in general, and as a woman and a parent, I happen to feel like relationships consist of two very important things. Everything and Enough.

As a woman, I want to be enough. More than just "good enough". Really enough. I'd like to think that my sense of humor--which admittedly is on the strange side--along with my general attitude, my personality, and just me in general, is enough.

But here's the thing: If I'm giving myself wholly and completely, if I'm not holding back, that means I'm giving everything. And everything should be enough.

Enough is everything and everything is enough.

No, I'm not intoxicated or sleep deprived. I'm actually putting forth some effort to make sense here.

I don't think that relationships, especially marriage and parenting relationships, should be conditional, but far too often, they are. I hear it all of the time in my line of work...parents telling their children, "Well, I'd love you if you weren't always such a pain," or "I need you to be [insert word(s) here--smarter, prettier, a better listener, a better student, a better athlete, etc.] if you expect me to [whatever]."

I hear it in significant-other relationships, too. "Well, I'd be more loving if you would only [insert word(s) here--get a better job, make more money, wear sexier clothes, help out more at home/with the kids, etc.]." 0r the ever-famous, "I wouldn't have cheated if only you did [or didn't] do [insert transgression here]."

When and why did it become acceptable to only love someone if something is gotten in return? Don't get me wrong, I expect my daughter to be good-mannered and well-behaved and use appropriate manners, but my love for her isn't conditional upon that. I expect my husband to help out around the house and do his fair share, but I don't love him less if he doesn't. (And honey, if you're reading this, I may not love you less on your lazy days, but I do get annoyed more.)

My point, or at least part of it, is that people should love each other just because...just because they want to and it feels good, and they get that good feeling out of it. And because I'm spiritual, I tend to believe that we're called to love each other because God expects it of us.

I love my daughter when she's puking on the carpet and on me...when she's snotting all over my shirt...when she's having a tantrum in the middle of Kohl's and laying on the floor screaming and kicking...when she's screaming that I'm not her best-friend-hero because I won't let her eat ice-cream after she's in bed for the night. I don't love her less because she's behaving like a 4-year-old. When I look at her tear-streaked face and see her little mouth quivering as she fights back tears, I'm moved to love her because she is my child. She is my daughter, and that is enough. When she's having a meltdown and really giving it her all, giving everything she has to make me see her point of view and make me change my mind, well, I love her even more right then, because everything is enough. And the fact that she is here on this earth at all is enough because she means everything to me.

That doesn't mean that on occasion, I don't have the urge to pinch her back after she pinches me. Tee-hee! I don't, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't wanted to a few times.

And my husband...he's been kind of down on himself for the past few months. The economy has not been cooperating and he still hasn't found a job. But my love for him isn't conditional on a paycheck. Yes, getting our income back up to what it used to be would be fantastic, but it's not a condition for me sticking around and continuing to be his wife. My love isn't conditional upon him keeping up his end of the bargain when it comes to household chores, either. But that doesn't mean that on occasion, I don't have the urge to pinch him after he's told me eleventy-thousand-bazillion times that he's going to do something, but then doesn't. In his case, I do pinch. But only sometimes.

I know what it's like to not feel like I'm good enough, or even enough in general. It's a horrible feeling, to give of oneself totally and completely, to give everything, and not have it be sufficient for someone. It leads to a lot of self-doubt, sometimes self-loathing, and that kind of damage to one's self-esteem is long-term and far-reaching. And it may feel permanent, but I'm realizing more and more that it's only permanent if I continue to allow it.

I give enough because I give everything. And that, my friends, is more than enough.

And enough of this, too. More nonsense later.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Wow! I totally get this. And I'll be reading it again. Once again you show how very insightful you are, with some humor on the side.