The Risk of Loving

“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief -
But the pain of grief
Is only a shadow
When compared with the pain
Of never risking love.”

~ Hilary Stanton Zunin

Connor’s mom’s funeral was today. It was a tough one, but it was nice. Connor picked out all of the music for the service. He also went up in front of the congregation and did a reading. He did a beautiful job. I was so proud of him.

Yesterday, it was suggested to me that maybe I am too attached to Connor, considering he and Kacey are only nineteen years old. Who knows where life will take them, right? I know that the statement was only made out of concern for my feelings. If I get too attached and somewhere down the road, Kacey and Connor go their separate ways, I’ll be heartbroken. When the concern was expressed to me, I thought to myself, “It’s too late. I am definitely attached to Connor.”

But I’ve wondered since then if I should have been more cautious with my feelings. My kids are young. Their friends and love interests may come and go from their lives. If I let myself get attached to everyone, am I setting myself up for disappointment and heartache? I don’t know if I have it in me to hold back when I really like, really admire, really love someone who comes into our lives this way. But is it careless of me to let myself get too close to people who may or may not be here for the long haul? I wondered, if I had been more careful with my feelings, if I wouldn’t have felt such a heart-crushing sadness when I learned of Connor’s mom’s passing. Maybe it wasn’t my place to hurt so deeply for a young man and family who aren’t even my own.

I recently put the WordPress app on my iPhone. It allows me to get notifications when a new blog comment is received. Today, just after leaving the church, I felt a vibration from my purse. My phone was buzzing. It was a WordPress notification. I’d received a comment from my friend, Jeni Hill Ertmer in response to one of my recent reflections on Connor and his mom’s passing and the dark feelings I experienced as a result. Jeni’s words came to me just when I needed them most. She said,

The older we get and the more we realize fully that we -none of us -is immortal, I believe causes the passing of others -whether they be young or very old -to register and linger more with us. The unfairness we recognize in the loss of someone either very, very young -as in a child -or an adult just hitting their stride perhaps -is something to be reckoned with for sure and also normal to think if my mind, my heart is so clouded,so fogged up right now in bleak thoughts and sadness, what right does the old sun have to come down and shine its glorious rays upon me and those I care deeply about too? And yet, sometimes it is just in seeing that beautiful sunshine that helps to start the healing process as we still have to look around and see that, yes -life goes on. I think it forces that realization upon us as if to say I know this is painful but let me help you in just some small way. That Kacey, Connor and their closest friends will be respective roomies and also that their rooms will be across the hall will no doubt create a close circle to envelope Connor through the first days there and also, without his Mother too. Peace -to you and especially for him as he begins the process of going forward and truly standing on his own two feet then too.

Jeni’s words washed over me and put me at peace with the sadness I’ve been feeling. She brought me peace with my feelings for Connor too. And I realized, if I’m “too” attached to him, then so be it. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. Connor loves my daughter. And Kacey loves Connor. And so I love Connor. He fits in with us right here, right now and that is good enough for me. Just like one of my own kids, when he is happy, it makes me happy. When he is hurting, I hurt. And when he needs a friend, support and love, I want him to know he can find those things in this house, with this family. There is no guarantee that anyone I love, anyone I care for is going to remain in my life indefinitely. I can’t hold back on loving anyone out of fear of losing them later. That’s no way to live. I may experience heartache somewhere down the road because I feel love. In fact, I think it’s a pretty good bet. I’ll take my chances.

Valentine’s Day, Schmalentine’s Day

My husband doesn’t listen very well. I told him, “NO Valentine’s Day gifts this year.”

Did he listen to me? No.

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s a fabricated holiday designed to get us to buy cards and spend money on unnecessary gifts to prove our love to another. You want to show me you love me? Make the bed. Clean the kitchen. Cook dinner sometime. And stay on your own side of the bed when I’m sleeping.

My husband is not a good gift hider either. He really should learn that if he wants to hide a gift from me, he should put it somewhere I’m not likely to go. Like the grocery store. The closet in our bedroom is not a very creative hiding place. I knew on Saturday what he was giving me when I … get this … went into my own closet! That’s okay. It gave me time to figure out how much money I did or didn’t have to spend on him.

He did tone it down a bit this year and just got me a big box of chocolates. Good ones. I’m not complaining. There’s never a bad time for chocolate. Last year he got me a Nook e-reader. I wasn’t complaining then either, but it seemed a bit extravagant for a holiday I don’t even believe in. I didn’t feel strongly enough to return the Nook though. That was a damn fine gift. Probably one of my favorite gifts he ever got me!

I hate looking for Valentine’s Day cards. I read all those mushy, sentimental cards and I have to fight to keep from sticking my finger down my throat and making a gagging sound. We like to get each other stupid humorous cards that convey the idea that, “Hey, we may get on each other’s nerves on a daily basis, and it may drive you nuts that I left the vacuum cleaner in the living room two days ago and still haven’t put it away. It might annoy me that you can’t watch one t.v. station for five minutes without flipping to another channel, but you do have some wonderful qualities which I don’t acknowledge nearly often enough and congratulations to us on managing to stay married anyway.”

This year, he got me a fine specimen of a card with a caveman on it, with caveman-ish sentiments inside.

 

Personally, I kind of like the part that calls me “hot like fire.” At my age, not many would be so inclined to describe me that way. It was perfect. Because I got him this one:

Because nothing says LOVE like making fun of each other’s imperfections. And an Adele CD, which is what I got him. And if he’s lucky, I’ll let him put his feet over on my side of the bed tonight.