I Love Ya, But Having Said That…

Today’s topic is how we can love the people we don’t necessarily like. Or how come we don’t like the people we are supposed to love…

I was talking about that with my friend Ellie who has a tough time with her Mom. She’s one of those grandmothers who wants you to bring over the kids but once you’ve schlepped all the kids there, she hardly talks to them. In other words, she wants Show and Tell for five minutes and then the kids can get lost.

“If I tell myself she’s not my mother, then I don’t feel so hurt,” Ellie said.  She tried to sound tough but she sounded sort of sad. Disappointed. Hurt. I mean, who doesn’t want a mother to care for them? Who wouldn’t want a marvelous Mary Poppins Mom?

I have my own mother who brought me up and raised me. She’s wonderful, witty and wacky. She’s one of the smartest people I know yet she was unable to get out of her own way. She’s taught me how to be strong and not to quit but she’s sometimes been too headstrong and that’s gotten her into trouble. I had to carve out my own identity even though it sometimes went against what she wanted for me. And I’ve learned that whatever she couldn’t give me has made me more open to searching for it elsewhere. I gained a unique awareness about life that would not have been possible if I’d had an easier, happier mother. If I accept who she is and don’t expect anything more then I can fill my heart with love for her, especially now, because she’s old, sad, uncomfortable, and very sick. And yesterday, when I asked her if she needed anything, she replied, “Yes. Poison.”

Think about someone you love and how you can change the way you see them to open your heart to more love.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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