Unconditional Love Makes No Sense

Unconditional Love Makes No Sense

Mother’s Day this year has brought something quite important to light: unconditional love is the most irrational and illogical thing in the world. Yet, it is still one of the most beautiful things we humans have.

Biologically, evolutionarily, psychologically, economically speaking, the very premise of something like unconditional love is impractical. It makes no sense for a person to give their entire lives to someone, to love them and be with them despite everything. In a relationship founded on pure unconditional love, you stay with that person and continue to love them no matter what happens. Even if this person hurts you, even if you’re giving way more to the relationship than they are, you love them and you stay with them. That’s insane.

There’s no better example of this bond than the one between a mother and her child. If you think about it, children are essentially parasites. First, they feed off of your body and wreck your internal system for nine months. Then, they leech off of you for the next 18 years, draining you of your money and time. Your life as a parent becomes inherently centered around “the children.”

“Oh, sorry, I won’t be able to go out tonight, the kids have a dance recital/soccer game/band concert.”

“Oh, I’ll definitely try to make it next weekend, but the kids want to make Halloween costumes this year.”

“Shoot, I can’t have coffee with you; I have to pick up the kids from school and take them to piano and karate and a class board meeting and…”

And there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a payout. It’s like the world’s worst government bond. Having children is a high-risk investment. There’s no guarantee that your children will turn around and pay you back when you’re old and in need of them. At the very least, there isn’t an immediate payout for all that you invest in a child.

Yes, we can argue that parents do get emotional payouts for watching their children grow, and they get happiness and that weird bubbly feeling of pride as they watch their kid succeed in life. That’s very valid, but that again speaks to this idea of unconditional love. It’s not their accomplishment, but they’re still so happy for their children. That’s love. Even when the child doesn’t succeed, even when they mess something up, a mother still loves her children. That’s unconditional love.

A parent isn’t getting some evolutionary, survivalist, or economic gain from sacrificing so much for their children. They aren’t helping themselves survive by giving up so much for their kids. But they do it anyway. They undertake the selfless act of raising a child, and it’s all driven by this unconditional love that says, “No matter what you do, I’ll always love you.” Love is an enigma by itself, but unconditional love is truly something else. It is beautiful. Think about how much a mother sacrifices for her child, without any logical or rational reason except for love. That is incredible. I had the privilege to witness this love just a few days ago, and when I stopped to appreciate what I was seeing, it truly moved me.

Last weekend was my senior prom. Now, my mother and I are not incredibly fashionable people. We don’t spend too much time fussing over hair and makeup and dresses. We get what we need to look decent enough, and then we move on. Besides, we have more important stuff to worry about, like careers and education and physical health and the next episode of Law and Order or The Office. But just one time, at my senior prom, we both decided that I would go through the whole nine yards to look as much like a princess as possible. As I sat getting the hair ripped off of my arms and legs and the tears stabbed out of my eyes by a makeup brush, as I tried on dress after dress, and twisted my ankle on heels too tall for me, my mom stood by me faithfully, fussing over me and making sure everything was perfect. She would come home after a full day of work, barely even able to keep walking, but she would still go out to brave the stores with me and help me get ready for prom night. Even when she wanted nothing more than to go home and finish up her work so she could relax for the night, she sacrificed all of her time for me, making sure that my dress fit properly, that my shoes wouldn’t crush my feet, that my hair wouldn’t fall out, or my makeup wasn’t a shade too dark. It wasn’t her prom. It wasn’t something that she had to do. But she did it all anyways. All because of that unconditional love. No matter what happened, she never lost patience. She stood by me through it all.

That’s a mother. That’s what they do, whether they have to or not. That’s amazing. That’s unconditional love.

That love is what keeps us alive. We know that psychologically, a child’s early years are critical to development, and a parent’s support and role in that development greatly influences the child. The nature vs. nurture debate has been going on forever, but there’s no question that both have a huge effect on children. A mother’s ability to nurture is what keeps a child alive and what assimilates them into life. Biologically, humans always nurture their young, but this isn’t always the case in nature. Skunk mothers, for example, devour their eggs if they think there are predators nearby, while harp seal mothers care for their babies for the first twelve days and then bolt outta there. For species like them, you could say the whole unconditional love thing doesn’t ring very true, because these animals are rational beings and do what it takes to keep themselves alive, even if it means giving up their young.

In humans, there is no rationale for our emotions. This bond of unconditional love, when formed well, lasts for a lifetime, even when the mom is done raising her child. It’s amazing how human mothers do what they do.

Unconditional love is truly a beautiful phenomenon. So, I say to my mom, I love you and I always will, and thank you for always loving me, too.

Cover Image Credit: Vipul Gupta

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A Letter From My Father, 4 Years Later

Never take your time for granted.

My father is a lot of things. He's kind and patient. He loves others well. He is a skilled leader and communicator. He's humble and carries himself with a sense of humor that is contagious.

He is first and foremost devoted to his family and Christ. He is a hard worker and a patient person. He has a way with words that touches many people's hearts.

And so, there is a multitude of people that look up to my dad for those very reasons.

I am one of them. So, you probably know that I hold my Father's opinion, trust, love, and advice in the highest regard.

My dad has always been known for his speeches or letters that he has written upon special occasions in our family life or his work events, as he is very sentimental person and is in touch with his feelings regarding the things he values most.

Consequently, over the years I have accumulated a series of letters and notes from my dad.

A few days ago, I came across a birthday note I received from my dad via email while my brother and I were traveling Europe following our high-school and college graduations. I was turning 18 and getting ready to move away to college, and my dad recognized that this was a major life transition for him, my mom, and I (especially since I was the youngest and my parents were about to become empty nesters),

Me? I didn't foresee all the change that was headed my way. The good or bad.

But coming across this letter he wrote me almost four years later really hit home for the way I've been feeling lately as a senior in college.

He knew our lives were going to change, and he voiced how crucial of a role college was going to play in my life.

Guess what? He was right.

So, I hope after reading the letter he wrote to me that you recognize how valuable words are years later. And how crucial it is to realize what you have while you've got it because life has a way of throwing unexpected change at you.

"Anna -
It’s already your birthday in Denmark, but not yet here in Huntsville. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!! I am so proud to be your Dad, miss you like crazy, but am thrilled that you’re spending your 18th birthday on a trip of a lifetime with your cool brother. For my 18th birthday, I went to Captain D’s in Alabaster. You may have to eat fish like I did, but at least you’re in an exciting place.
You’re my princess. I miss my little girl with the long pony tail that I could never tie up right. I miss my little soccer girl who learned to be one of the best defenders ever. I miss my The Voice partner. I miss seeing you when you come in late from work to tell me about your awful experiences. I miss my princess.
I’m excited for this time of your life. Time to go but not yet time to leave. This next year will be one of the best of your life with new friends, new surroundings, and new experiences. In college, you will make the best friends of your life and create the best memories of your life. You will say that you miss Mom and Dad, but you really won’t - you’ll be too busy working hard and too excited about too many new people and activities. So I’m OK with all of that. I just miss my princess.
Keep having fun on your trip. Watch after your brother. Remember I love you. And have a Happy Birthday.

Love your parents and your time with them. Never take your life for granted because people love you and cherish you from afar. Value where you are and where you've been because sometimes when you're looking back on it all you'll realize what you didn't fully appreciate things you should've.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why You Need To Make Sure Your Parents Know How Important They Are To You

They may get on our nerves sometimes, but they only want the best for you.

Most of us have gone through that early high school phase of not getting along with our parents and some even go as far as “hating” them, but the fact is we would be lost without them. When you’re young it’s so easy to believe your parents are just trying to suck the fun out of everything and are way too hard on you.

We would have never even noticed until we grew up that it was only for the sake of our safety, it may only be when we ourselves become parents that we realize it was to mold us into the best person we could be, and for some they may only realize it was because they would do anything for them when it is already too late.

This is why we must NEVER forget to let our parents know how much we love, adore, and appreciate all they do for us. If your mom is like mine, she is strong, beautiful, empowering, honest, crazy, sometimes stubborn, a lot of the time moody, fragile, but also comforting, wise, and your absolute rock.

If your dad is like mine, he is your biggest supporter. He is tough but sensitive, corny but inspiring, authentic and so loved, he can also be naive and sometimes mom’s puppet, but when it comes down to it, he is everything a dad should be and the person every girl keeps a mental image of when they think of the type of man they want to marry.

These people may get on your nerves so often and they may be unreasonable, but when you think about your parents, you have to know just how much they sacrifice for you and how much of their existence is revolved around making you happy and making you a more well-rounded human being.

We’ve all had times where they just drive us so crazy but thank God for growing up and being able to see just how good our parents are because being a parent cannot be easy. It is crucial that we spend time with them and we get to know them because more times than not, we really don’t know what we have until it’s gone.

This goes for any guardian you have who has looked after you and loved you unconditionally; we all have someone who fills that role.

Whether it’s your dad rushing out of work just to see your soccer game, your mom being the determining factor to whether or not you should be friends with that sketchy person, or just having a feeling of home wherever you go, these are the people that will matter forever, first and for most.

Next time you get so angry with your parents, stop and breathe and think about your overall relationship with them and how grateful you should be. Some people, unfortunately, do not have people like this in their lives and that should make it even more justified that you do not take them for granted because I guarantee you, if that girl who lost both her parents could see them one more time or that boy whose parents neglect him could get one hug, I know they would cherish that moment forever.

If your parents are like mine, you have it so good and you need to know it and act upon it now. Take the time to sit down with them and listen to stories about their childhood, go to the movies with them. CALL THEM AT SCHOOL. Just put the phone down in the car and listen to music together; it all adds up. Do not waste these days that you have such precious people in your life being so oblivious to the fact they just want what’s best for you.

Let them teach you even if it means listening to the same lectures over and over again, having the family movie night instead of going out, clean around the house for them every once in a while.

Someday when you have your own kids you’ll understand what it means to be a parent and how to be a great role model thanks to the people around you now. Don’t grow up and regret letting them know how important they are to you.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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