Unconditional Love

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I had  a delightful afternoon with an old friend yesterday. We were both young mothers together and my family frequently house sat for them and their Bichon, Zippy. Yep, I have a long history with this breed. My love of dogs goes back to early childhood when I fell in love with Betty Boop’s dog “Pudgy”. Every afternoon after school I would watch black and white cartoons of Betty and Pudgy. Pudgy got into all sorts of trouble but Betty knew it was worth it in the end.

Zippy is now thirteen but still has the same zip he always has, he just can’t jump up like he used to. I am amazed at the resiliency of this breed and how well they age. It made me miss Bianca though. They are such affectionate dogs and Zippy greeted me if I had never been away.Pudgy had that same precociousness that I see in the bottomless, brown eyes of both Zippy and Bianca. They are forever young and have a fathomless heart for the people they love. How lucky are we to be on the receiving end?!

I still adore Betty Boop to this day. She was the first role model for an independent woman living on her own. I never got the suggestive clothing or garter until I was much older (she was originally a flapper of the 20’s and drawn by Max Fleischer) but it didn’t matter. Betty and Pudgy would forever be a permanent fixture in my heart. Just like Bianca and Zippy.

My time here has been bitter sweet. Looking back at youthful folly, measuring mistakes and growth, trying to let go of the past and forgive my human frailties. It’s not easy. The important ones, the ones that taught me the most, are those who  modeled love and acceptance. I realize now that the “be  like me club” was never going to issue me an invitation. Looking honestly at who we are and being accountable for that is difficult. I try every day.

I’ve been talking with my son about his childhood memories and they weren’t always flattering to me. I tried so hard, juggled so much and wanted to be a perfect parent. That was my first big mistake. I told him his feelings are more important than my ego. When truly listening, there is no right and wrong. I knew this day would come and I fortunately have had enough trust in God’s grace (and therapy) to know this was a good thing. I could never have this conversation with my own parents and am deeply grateful my son doesn’t have to carry around the baggage that I carried around for mine. He deeply loves and respects me and we can talk about anything. Love, forgiveness, acceptance. Unconditionally! I guess I didn’t do so bad after all. Do you want to change enough to hear the truth?

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