4/21/2006

love me back

The other night I was talking to my mom on the phone and she mentions that my brother is mad at my dad because he clearly loves me more. "What," I exclaimed. "Your dad loves you more and he doesn't even try to hide it," she replies. She goes on to say that my dad is always bragging about Alice and he hardly ever talks about my brother's kid who is almost the same age. I sat there listening to her complain about how inappropriate my father is and I really couldn't think of one thing to say in response. My parents are divorced and have been for 20 years and as much as I love my mom I can't stand how she talks about my dad. I told her she was wrong and I hung up the phone. I've been thinking about that conversation ever since and it really bothers me. My whole life my brother has been jealous of me for being my dad's favorite. Is it wrong for a parent to have a favorite - probably, but I'm sure it happens. Do I feel bad that sometimes I have to admit my dad does favor me over my brother? Yes I feel bad but only for a moment because there is one major difference between my brother's relationship with my dad and mine, I actually love my father regardless of all his faults. It is so easy to hate someone for not being the way you think they should be isn't it? But you grow up and you realize that people are who they are, good or bad, sober or not, and that still has nothing to do with how much you love them. Why do people put so many conditions on love? I'm sure my dad doesn't love me more than my bro but I do know he feels closer to me. Maybe it's because I've been honest with him about our past, how he hurt me, how he stole my childhood and made me grow up before it was my time. Maybe it's because I've told him I know he's an alcoholic and that I accept that it's a disease he cannot shed like an old coat that doesn't fit anymore. Maybe it's because I love him despite the pain he's caused me and I love him with my whole heart - not just the parts that escaped damage. My father loves my brother but he also knows that no matter what he does my brother will always be his judge and jury. Instead of telling my dad how he feels he punishes him by keeping his children from their grandfather, by talking behind his back to my mother who is the least objective person on this earth. My brother cannot accept that my father is human and has flaws just like the rest of us. My brother is like so many people that I know - a hypocrite.

I wanted to tell my dad how my brother felt but I didn't see the point because I know that my dad does love us both equally. He loves us both but he knows the love he has for me comes with less stipulations, less rules, less judgment. It's so much easier to show your love for someone that has their arms wide open ready to accept it. Love belongs to those who want it. Love belongs to those willing to accept it for what it is and nothing that it's not. I want to leave you with something that my father wrote me so very long ago:

My dearest girl with eyes so full of question, it has been my fear that those beautiful dark eyes that came from me will end up being the judge that sentences me to a life away from you. Once you made me promise that I'd never go away and I've struggled to keep that promise because sometimes I know that distance may be your only savior. So I'm writing words on paper hoping that someday you'll read them and know a part of me exists that lives to protect you and your brother from the cruel world I have created. I am weak dear child but when I falter I look back at you and still you are standing there begging me to return to your arms so you can hug my neck and kiss my cheek and remind me that nothing on this earth is stronger than your love. My lil' Irish lass please love me when I cannot love myself.

My dad doesn't love me more, he loves me back.

18 Comments:

  1. e.e. said...
    "It's so much easier to show your love for someone that has their arms wide open ready to accept it. Love belongs to those who want it. Love belongs to those willing to accept it for what it is and nothing that it's not."

    My god, woman.
    You have made me cry.
    Christine said...
    yeh, its about giving love and seeing what comes back. not giving to receive but giving giving giving only love. its all I have. Its all your Dad has. Its so sad when people like your brother/my sister or mother/and mine or others withohold love and use it as a weapon.

    Love and acceptance is the key and looks like you've got the key.
    Maui said...
    Love that last line.

    Wow.

    Maui
    NMAMFQLMSH said...
    A wonderful post as always - you always seem to hit a cord with me.
    Being a divorce Mom I NEVER bad mouth my ex in front of the kids. It's just not healthy for them.
    I try my hardest to love them equally and where they are so close in age they are treated pretty much fairly too.
    Wow, being a Mom is tough huh?
    I see you,
    JJ
    PS: Have a great weekend!
    Shannon said...
    wow favorites
    I know my dad "favors" me only because like you said I accept him as he is... all of him good bad and ugly...

    and now I am faced with something similar with my kids and have another perspective...

    its not favortism...? more like a better relationship.. like with my oldest who is my step, she and I dont have a relationship...she doesnt want to and I love her, but we dont talk or hang out
    where as my second who is also my step child are very close, because we talk and hang out.. because she wants to- but we only get to hang out 4 days a month, every other weekend...
    then my 3rd who is my step son, we have a good relationship but not as close as my second,
    and then my daughter and I have a very close relationship, I gave birth to her, she is in my everyday life so I guess you can see my favorite...?? but its more like differnt relationships... does that make sense??? maybe its all the same ... but I know I love them all... and would walk through fire for any of them regarless of my relationship...
    Spitfire said...
    Oh, girl. You have said it before - how similar our lives have been - how they are almost mirrors of each other. I learned to give my dad some extra love - and he has learned to love me back as well. Sometimes it isn't as quickly as I would like - but it is there nonetheless. The reason we were always looking for the "perfect" man - and fell for the "imperfect" ones may just be because our fathers were not-so perfect - and we loved them unconditionally. For that, we are remarkably resilient - and simply remarkable. Love you.
    Tab said...
    ((speechless))
    Rex said...
    Powerful.....as your posts always are. The whole bit about truthfulness and acceptance really hit home. Thanks for sharing.
    Da Gal said...
    {{{{{{{{{NWC}}}}}}}}}}} I haven't been here for a while and this really is the first place I want to be because you just write the words that are trapped inside of me. I loved the entire post and then lost it to tears when I read the lass part. I wish I had something... anything that my dad had written. That's one thing I don't have of his... his writing... anywhere.

    I appreciate your relationship with your father and how you are able to so eloquently express it. Thanks for being you.
    Grateful said...
    Family dynamics are impossible to master. I miss your brother could read your words.

    Please do not feel responsible for your Father's actions nor your brother's reactions.

    You are without blame as you are being true to yourself.

    You are exceptional and gifted. Thanks for sharing part of yourself with us.
    kimmyk said...
    I'm sorry that your mom uses her words to try to hurt you. My sister is closer to our dad and I'm ok with that, but I don't think I'd ever assume he loves her more-he's just closer to her. and I get that. I hope your brother does too.
    Is he closer to your mom than you?
    I would assume so. He should understand then. I think your mom was just trying to be hurtful....and that's too bad.
    WDKY said...
    I also think it's a shame that the conversation had to take place at all. But it did, and you posted something that is quite insightful... and I must admit that since I've invetsed more time, and emotional energy, into my relationship with Mum, it's also been much more fulfilling for me.

    It's no different to most things in life, I guess... you reap what you sew. Hope you had a good weekend x
    Caterpillar said...
    I love that your dad wrote you that letter a long time ago. It's something so precious, saw raw and both beautiful and sad. When I was reading his words and feelings, I saw him in you.
    k o w said...
    I have a friend going through something very similar. Do you mind me sending them this way?
    AAwoken said...
    Anthony De Mello writes some of the most insightful things I have read on love in "A Way To Love". It set me straight....

    Beautiful post.
    Troi Toy said...
    interesting that even as grownups, you can still get into the 'who has more' argument. It was good to see you saturday!
    Troi Toy said...
    interesting that even as grownups, you can still get into the 'who has more' argument. It was good to see you saturday!
    NML said...
    A very well written post and I agree that the last line was brilliant and also casts the reason why things may not be so rosy with the bro. If the bro isn't loving him so much then it's not going to be great. Ultimately I think that it's dubious territory when a sibling makes this type of accusation. I love my siblings and if my ma happens to love one of them more, it's no skin off my back. You shouldn't feel bad about having a healthy relationship with your Dad.

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