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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pat and Unconditional Love

I've read a few great posts the last couple of days regarding unconditional love (Leesa & Deb), and though I'm not usually a 'love story' kind of gal, their posts have touched me and left me a better person. I believe in unconditional love, one: because of John 15:17 ~ These things I command you, that ye love one another. No conditions applied, thank God. Two: because my husband, Mark, still loves me. If conditions applied, he'd left me years ago. When conditional love tells you to pack your bags, unconditional love tells you to reconsider.

I didn't grow up with 'unconditional love'. As I've written about before, my mom was mentally ill and my dad wasn't around much. I don't blame my mom, or hold her accountable for the things we all endured as a result of her illness. Don't get me wrong, I did at one time. Because mental illness is often hereditary, I learned first hand what she had to go through. Fortunately, medicine has made some major breakthroughs and neither my children or I have had to go through what my family did. And, because of the unconditional love that I found in Christ, I was able to forgive my mom many, many years ago.
However, with that said, I grew up being told by my mom that she hated me, that I ruined her life and that she wished I'd never been born. The emotional and mental abuse left much more painful scars than the physical abuse. The physical stopped when I was 13...the emotional still lingers. My mom had always told me that no one would ever love me as long as I lived. Her words. I heard them all my life, and I believed them. My dad more or less lived at the airport he managed and when he did come home, he wasn't happy to be there. He did take us on vacation once a year, but other than that, I don't remember him around very much. When I was a kid, I didn't blame him. I didn't want to be around our house either. I do blame him now. Now, through Mark, I see what a father is suppose to be. In fact, I actually find him more to blame than my mother. She was ill, and yet he left us with her knowing what she was doing to us. My sister and I were only 14 months apart. Unfortunately, my sister and I didn't turn to each other, but rather we turned against each other. We were raised in anger, it's all we knew. I wasn't allowed to have friends over or to go to friends houses, so I didn't really know that my life wasn't the norm. I was always afraid to have any relationships because I'd been told that no one would ever love me. I carried this with me until I found Christ, and then I met Mark. I sabotaged every relationship I ever had, I can see that now. At the time, I just wanted to 'hit and run'. I never gave anyone a chance to know me, or leave me. Even after I became a Christian and after I married Mark, there has always been an underlying fear that he'll leave me. Especially the first 10 years, I kept thinking when he really got to know me, he'd run for his life. But he didn't, and he hasn't. These are the lingering scars that I was speaking of earlier. Though I daily give my burdens to God, the hardest thing for me to believe is that anyone can get to know me and yet still love me. This is why I distance myself from people, I know.

My mom died nearly 15 years ago. At that time, she was my closest friend. I know she loved me, I'd came to accept that she'd been suffering and the pain she distributed to my sister and I was an effect of her illness.

A couple of years after my mom died, my dad met Pat. After dating for a little while, he brought Pat with him to visit us in Texas. I was a little nervous, I'm not good around people. The moment Pat walked into our house she was family. She had the same honesty trait that my mom had had (and that I have). Pat never made me feel less than accepted, less than enjoyed, less than loved. She accepted my entire family. My mom had died when Charlie was 11 months old and Casey a tad over 2 yrs old. She treated my kids like they were her own grandbabies. Pat has 3 wonderful daughters of her own, all of which have a great relationship with their mom. They have all blessed Pat with amazing grandkids and a greatgrandbabies as well now. While my kids were growing up, my dad was a really great grandad. My boys called him 'Pop' and Pat was their 'Pat'. I don't think they knew that was her name when they were little. In school they'd refer to her as 'my Pat' like they'd say 'my Pop'. I was so grateful that my boys had her, that they didn't have to grow up with out a grandmother on my side.

Pat and my dad dated for many years. My dad...mmmm, was not the selfless person that Pat is and after so many years, he just called it quits. No reason, he just walked and I believe he always regretted doing so. Pat never held it against me, and it never changed our relationship. She met a wonderful man and married him, and still, she kept my family as her own. They moved from Indiana to Florida and made a loving and wonderful life for themselves there, and still she kept my family as her own. In 15 years, Pat has never once rebuked me, never said a word against me, never failed to let me know that she loved me. She has never forgotten one of my childrens birthdays. Many, many years her cards were the only rememberance my kids got from anyone other than Mark and I on special days such as birthdays, Easter, Valentines Day... She was their 'Pat'. She picked up where my mom left off and my kids never missed that love that my mom would have shared with them. I like to believe that my mom could see that Pat was giving them what she couldn't, but would have if she'd been able to.

My dad passed about 5 years ago, and Pat grieved for him as I did. She'd forgave him for his behavior, because she'd loved him unconditionally. Pat has always shown me that kind of love, unconditional love. Last week Pat told me that I should call her my 'adopted step-mom'. I cried. I don't cry often, but I did cry over this. I can't remember ever feeling more loved. Having grown up with a mom that told me she wished she hadn't had me, that I had ruined her life and I was unloveable, having this woman that I've loved and admired for so long, actually say that she'd want to be my mom...well, I've not felt so loved since I gave my life to Christ.
She told me that "As far as I am concerned, you have earned the right to be my adopted step-daughter by going way beyond what you should have to honor me." I don't know how I've done that. I don't feel that I deserve that honor in any form or fashion...to belong to a woman with the love and kindness this beautiful lady exudes. It's one of the greatest feelings I've ever known. To think, that at my age, full grown with nearly grown children of my own, that it would bring me to my knees to imagine that someone would actually want to claim me. It still is nearly beyond my comprehension. For the first time, those lingering scars are less noticeable to me. Am I loveable? Can someone really want me? Yes, I've been married to a wonderful man for 22 years, but in the back of my mind I fall asleep wondering if we didn't have 2 kids, would he still want to be with me? I have friends that have remained friends with nothing to gain and I know they love me. But an adopted step-mom? That's family by choice. After having known me for nearly 14 years, that she would still want to be my friend is a blessing enough...but to want to be known as my step-mom? I'm in complete and utter gratitude to God for this precious woman. Pat has shown me unconditional love. I believe, with all my heart, in unconditional love. I thank God for unconditional love...and for my boys 'Pat'...and for my adopted step-mom.


Blogger ~Deb said...

Wow. This was an amazing post. The underlying feeling of 'they're going to up and leave' is an awful thing. I used to have it all the time and I ruined plenty of relationships due to that.

Unconditional love is hard to find and also hard to do--especially those with a painful past.

You're stronger because of it Kath---and I love you for being so open and honest.

Thanks for sharing this.


11:01 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

"I'm not usually a 'love story' kind of gal" You can't serious Mrs Hallmark.

Great post. I'm happy for you. I too how wonderful it is be adopted into another family.

12:25 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

deb ~ thanks deb. It is an awful thing...always afraid to be too happy, afraid that it won't last. Hugs darlin, love ya.

shawn ~ LOL, you're too funny. Do you? You should write about that. I'm headed over to your place now.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was beautifully written. very beautifully. I did have some problems during my childhood, but you had way way more and you have come out as a beautiful person - that is just SO awesome !

I hope you never have to endure any such form of pain again and reading about your current life I believe that is very true


11:31 PM  
Blogger HuneeB said...

Kathi I meant every word I said.

I saw you coment on Sass' blog and so I checked you out and I was blown away.
First without reading yuor blog at all there was something about you, something in your smile or eyes that just gave me a sense of peace calm and love, I dont get that feeling very often at all.

When I started reading I was in awe, you have a wonderful heart and I only hope that I can evolve into the kind of person you are.

Your post has left me speechless; in tears of pain, memories, fear and hope, it has left me better.

1:19 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

tbg ~ Thank you for your sweet words! The only reason I came out a better person was because I was able to forgive, and then I was able to love. Simple equation that makes a world of difference. Thanks again, you've made my day much better than it started out!

huneeb ~ darlin, I have no idea what to say to you that isn't going to sound just plain sappy. When sass told me to read what you'd written about me yesterday, well...I read it like 3 times, LOL. Honest. How often do you get to read something like that, that's so completely unexpected.
Thank you for so much...you made me feel special and I honestly don't get that often (c'mon, I've got 2 teen boys, usually I'm just trying to keep up). Thinking that you've touched someone is honestly, to me, the best feeling possible. I thank you for that. You have no idea how much your 2 comments have meant to me. I needed them. Big hug.

6:13 AM  
Blogger DZER said...

*big hugs*

6:54 AM  
Blogger bbsgirl said...

very touching post Kathi. It's hard sometimes to put that feeling behind you that "they will just leave"..I'm still working on that one myself. So much to relate to. Without the love of God on our side we really can't do much enough to function properly. Thanks for sharing a part of you with us.

I stopped by Charlie's blog to say hi too today!!

6:57 AM  
Blogger Guide_to_life said...

This was beautifully and very beautifully worded. You are a beautiful person always remember that and just through reading this blog you have touched me....

8:14 AM  
Blogger Hasan Mubarak said...

Knowing about your & your family's relationship with Pat made me feel so good about her.

May God keep you together in this bond of truly unconditional love...

8:27 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

dzer ~ hugs back at'cha.

jan ~ thanks, and you're so right! I can't function right at all without God, I've proven that, sadly enough.

guide ~ wow, thank you so much. Thanks for visiting my blog, your words have helped make my day better.

hasan ~ you're such a sweet man. Thanks so much for your kind words and trust me, words can not do thsi sweet woman enough justice. Thanks for your precious blessing.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Katy said...

Love with conditions really isn't love anyway. Not love that will be there for the long haul.
Your friends do have something to gain from you. Your unconditional love!

9:31 AM  
Anonymous 3carnations said...

That was a beautiful post. I am sorry for your rough childhood, but it sounds like you came out of it with grace and you are indeed blessed to have your children's "Pat". Thanks for sharing!

10:06 AM  
Blogger Stephen Bess said...

That's great that you are able to have a relationship with your step-mom. I am not so lucky. My father has been with his wife and my brother's mother for 30 years and she still treats me like she we've just met. It hurts because I love my father and my brother. It is because of her that we can't love full circle. She has never forgiven me for being his first born from his first marriage. Yet, I still pray for her (mostly because my wife encourages it).

10:31 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

katy ~ "Love with conditions really isn't love anyway". True!! You're such a smart cookie.

3 c's ~ thank you. I didn't have it nearly as hard as many have and still do, but the only reason I came out with grace is because of His grace. :) And yup, we've definitely been blessed with Pat.

stephen ~ loved your post on Richard Wright today, thanks for that. I'm sorry that your step-mom has made it so hard for you, jealousy is so hard to overcome. Glad you're praying for her, your wife is a smart lady. Hugs.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Oh Kathi...that gave me chills and almost made me cry. Beautiful story.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Bill Jones, Jr said...

I believe so that we are loved unconditionally, God puts people in our lives who can love us that way. The difficult part is weeding out those who can't, and beliving in those who do. Hope you know I love you.

5:51 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

anne ~ sorry, wouldn't make you cry. It's a good story! Thanks for the kind words. I love your blog.

sable ~ yes, I know without a doubt that you love me. You are one of my true friends, I believe.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

wow, kathi, what a wonderful post. I have not been around much lately (sad things). But I loved reading this post. And, I am sad to say, I don't think I have experienced this unconditional love from a person to date.

11:47 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

leesa ~ thank you. What sad things? I can't remember reading any bad news on your blog, but we don't post everything, do we?
I hate hearing that you've not had this kind of love, but for what it's worth, you have it from me.

1:16 AM  
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9:56 PM  

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