Love Without Limits
Rare is the person who reaches adulthood without accumulating some emotional baggage. Psychological stress experienced by our grandparents carries through to our parents. The emotional burdens our parents lived through affect us as children. These evolve into personal stressors that we then pass on in part to our children.
It’s easier to be objective about family emotional history as we gain wisdom with age. As the older generation of family members passes on, many of the complicated feelings dissipate, leaving simpler truths behind.
This year I lost my beloved father in May. Five months later, my mother has passed away. At times she fit the image of a fiery redhead, angering easily, but was also generous of heart and loving. Her powerful sense of standing up for the underdog and stepping up to help those in need is a gift she passed down to children and grandchildren.
The complicated relationship between most parents and children can become a simpler one between grandparents and grandchildren. My mom’s best self certainly shined through in that role.
A severely autistic child like my son Sean can easily be isolated from the typical population because his behavior is unusual and unpredictable.
Grandma didn’t care. She was as welcoming to him bouncing on her lap holding his forehead to hers while squeaking excitedly or endlessly playing with her long fingernails in fascination as she was to our older son sitting calmly next to her talking or reading books.
She loved him without labeling him. He was her grandson, a young boy facing challenges that other kids might not. Her heart was unconditionally open to him, which allowed her to connect in a way many others couldn’t. Due to travel constraints for Sean and also for my mom, they didn’t see each other for many years, but Sean still looks at photos of her long-past visits and yells, “Grandma!”
When a person passes on, we can let the baggage we carried in our relationship float away with the clouds. It is an opportunity to love without labels and without limits the way my mom showed love to Sean.
May we all find the wherewithal to let people know we love them before they float off into the sunset and find peace as we process their passing.
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is South Rodeo Beach Trail, a short walk that leads to a small patch of pretty beach in the Marin Headlands.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 145): South Rodeo Beach Trail
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