Unconditional love … Hah!
I believe the term came from Christianity, ascribing unconditional love from Jesus towards us mortals. Since then the term has been used and abused.
Women scream in therapy about wanting to be loved unconditionally by their partners, despite being bitchy and critical, and husbands’ concept of unconditional love by their wives is to never go without sex…
There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to write comprehensively about unconditional love – this prevailing fallacy of the last thirty years or so – so I’ll limit my comments to mothers and daughters.
Mothers express eternal love towards their daughters, while proving once again that talk is cheap … so, let’s just start with two recollections:
One: A friend, years ago, leading with seductiveness, sexy attire and all, shared with me that she didn’t want her teenage daughter to join her at the pool of her newfound boyfriend, because the boyfriend would desire her daughter instead. So, she convinced the girl to visit a friend.
Two: A relative; a single mother, beating up her daughter who refused to listen. I had to contain her, because I was afraid she was going to break the child’s bones. Years later, the daughter told her mother she would kill her if she touched her again.
But we don’t have to go to these extremes. Just some every-day trivialities will suffice:
The mother who tells her daughter that she is disappointed in her because her report card is not good enough.
The mother who is ashamed that her daughter isn’t in honors class, but tells her friends that her daughter is more interested in sports. (Not true. I know Stacey, and she’s not interested in sports. She’s actually devastated by not making it.)
The mother who complains that her husband is more loving towards their daughter than her; who blames her daughter for getting preferential treatment
The mother who allows her son to get away with murder (after all “boys will be boys”…), but is strict with her daughter who does not complete her chores.
The mother who needs her daughter to take care of her; who shares her own problems – using the child as a sounding board … and she’s the one who prides herself in being like a sister to her daughter…
Next, there are the mothers who shun daughters who become inconveniently pregnant; or shun them because of the daughter’s marriage to someone who’s not from the same race, religion or social status.
Lastly, there are the mothers who tell their daughters that no one would want to marry them because they are so intolerable; and those who push their daughters to marry the first man who seem interested, because they are not pretty enough.
I could go on, but sometimes brevity is a virtue, and I believe you get the point.
So, I’ll simply say that unconditional love is a lofty concept, hence it is much more befitting angels and saints.
For the rest of us, it will be sufficient to remember to simply love as much as we can, warts and all.