The love of a parent towards a child is said to be unconditional.
It could also be said that the love of a parent towards a child is annoying.
It was not until my parents became grandparents that my understanding of the unconditional love that a parent gives a child became clear, and less annoying.
My sister and brother-in-law graciously took the monkey off my back by having a baby last year, fulfilling my parent’s desire to be grandparents. My nephew is my favourite person in the world, evidenced by the joy I feel every time I look at my phone and see his face as my wallpaper.
My parents appear to have transformed into different people since my nephew showed up into our world. Over the past year, my sister and I have remarked often to each other in private how much they appear to have changed. We hear sounds from our parent’s mouths we never knew existed. We see genuine joy and laughter, again somewhat unfamiliar to our eyes. Who are these people, that are our supposed parents?
The love we see my parents give their grandson is so noticeable that it has even sparked a hint of envy within me.
Until I realized that I too receive the same unconditional love. The love and affection that I feel towards my nephew, that I observe my parents give him, is the same type of love that I have received my entire life from my parents.
It touches my heart to know that I am loved in this way. That I have been, that I am today and that I will be in the future. Unconditionally. It is no longer an intellectual belief but an emotional understanding for me.
As an introspective and reflective person, I have given my parents a harder time than they deserve. In my journal, in my blog posts, and in the company of my therapist and friends. Often bringing attention to the aspects of who or how I am that I dislike, and associating them with my parents. It is easier for me to place blame outwards than to take ownership inwards.
My parents have been visiting me in Portugal for the past two weeks, and staying with me.
Although I had left home at the age of 18 for school and had not lived with them for a long time, I did return home for the first year of the pandemic recently and lived with them as an adult for the first time. If you have read my blog for some time, you will know that it was not always easy for me.
My parents are my parents. I used to think that they had to change, to be less annoying to me. And they are changing, but not how I expect. They are changing, in their own ways, in their own time and at their own pace.
Having connected with the unconditional love they have for me has made my parents less annoying.
It is remarkable.
And it is because I better understand them, now that I have seen their love through the eyes of my nephew. Just how my one-year-old nephew is receiving love from every direction, without really understanding or even acknowledging it, I too have been receiving love my entire life, without really understanding or properly acknowledging it.
I now understand that when my parents say or do things that I find annoying, their underlying intention is one of love. I have always believed that intellectually, but it has not always felt like love to receive it. I am learning to tune into the depth of our relationship beyond our interactions at the surface.
“If you think you are enlightened, go live with your family for a week”, is the popular quote to challenge any belief that we can meditate or medicate away the strong emotions that are sitting within us, often triggered by those closest to us.
The past few weeks, living with my parents, have been more pleasant for me than I had expected. I am less annoyed by them, not because they changed, but because I feel more connected to the unconditional love they have for me.