A few years ago, when I lived with my adoptive parents still, Zheila asked me what I thought love meant and what it meant to have a mom/what a moms role is. Wanting so desperately to have these things, I thought I knew exactly what it meant, yet I came short of an answer. I didn’t know what to say. I told her I didn’t know but that it wasn’t what I was getting/ what was happening. Two years later I can confidently answer her question and this is how:
Love is unconditional. It doesn’t judge for the little mistakes I make. Love doesn’t look at me as a diseased child. It doesn’t try to mold me into something that I wasn’t meant to be. It doesn’t care that I was abused for 3/4 of my life. Love see’s that I am trying my very best and accepts that. It is accepting and kind and walks with me on my journey. Love doesn’t expect anything in return. It picks me up when I’m in my darkest moment and helps me build stairs from the bottom of my well. It offers to sit with me on the bathroom floor as I injure myself just to feel something, even though it’s hard and then follows through. Love wraps me in its arm when I feel the most unloveable. It doesn’t expect me to be my age. And though I don’t have experience with an actual mom, I finally know what it would feel like to have one. They are not my mom, but Bailey, Becca, and Grace (my therapist) encompass me in love every day and show me what I never had. They make sure that I am okay. They make sure that I am safe. Every day Bailey tells me good morning and goodnight. She reminds me that though I’m a broken, I am not shattered. She makes sure that I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge and offers kind words of encouragement towards my success. She makes sure to tell me often that I am loved and that I am a good person. She will pull me into her arms and rock me like an infant if I am unable to cope with the world and just need help. Becca sets me on a path of logical consciousness, helping me to survive every day at school. She too allows me to be broken and still feel loved. She doesn’t talk to me daily, but when she does she never forgets to let me know that I’m loved. Like Bailey, she offers me one of the greatest gifts–the gift of a friend (their daughters) who is much like myself. She will wrap me in a hug as I stomp my feet and cry. When I’m struggling in school, she sits down with me and walks me through and helps me to process what is going on. Grace also checks in on me every day. She makes sure I have taken my pill for bed, that I’ve survived a day, and that I’ve completed everything needed. She offers me a deeper therapeutic relationship than the average therapist which allows me to have someone to connect with when my main support is unable. She laughs with me and holds me when I cry. She holds many of my darkest secrets and keeps them safe while letting me know that she still believes I’m an ok kid. Like the other two, she offers me someone who thinks much like I do. She understands me at such a deep and emotional level that is both terrifying and satisfying, as do the other two. Each of these ladies offers me a love that is pure and kind. They give me a love that’s intentional and unconditional. Each of these women have shown me in a multitude of ways that no matter how broken I am, no matter how many mistakes I make, they will always love me. They all three make sure that I have a roof over my head and that I’m eating. They sit with me in my darkest time and let me regress as far as I need to in order to heal. They wrap me in their arms when I’ve had a bad day.
Though these women, combined, offer what a mom is supposed to offer (unconditional love and support) it isn’t always easy. There are hard things about love and about having/being a mom. We struggle sometimes. I reject their love and after a while rejection is just plain hard and exhausting. I fight them tooth and nail when they try to help me understand that I am lovable and that I am worthy of love. Most times they fight right back. They fight my brain with me…but sometimes they lose it. Sometimes they yell. Sometimes one of them even screams. They take a step back and recoup and it’s hard! I don’t like it. But this is love and this is relationship.
These ladies aren’t my mom and never will be…but they have given me a sense of family and worthiness that I have lacked my entire life. They have given me relationship without stipulation. They have given me relationship without hurt (though I’m not going to lie, quite often relationship is pretty painful anyway, in a struggle kind of way.)
This is what I want my adoptive mom to know now. These are the things I would tell her if she asked me what love was and what it meant to be/have a mom. These are the things moms are supposed to do and this is what love looks like. I know she wouldn’t agree and that’s okay because for now, my “mom” fill is complete. I don’t need a mom and I don’t want a mom. I have love and I have three wonderful women and 3 of the most amazing friends who support me in all that I do. I’m surrounded in pure and unconditional love and trust and it feels right for me. It feels like what I need and for now, it feels like enough. Love is patient, but more importantly love is forgiving.
“Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you…”