Thursday, April 28, 2011
It's A Wonderful Thing To Be Loved
I just came back from vacationing in Atlanta with my family for the week. One of my closest friends got married and my birthday was also this past weekend. It afforded me the perfect opportunity to get away and spend time with family and friends. A huge part of my family lives there and I used to as well. I moved back to New York about five years ago and as much as things have changed, they've stayed the same. I felt like I was in one of those movies where the protagonist comes home from the big city and everything is the same. It feels like they never left. They get together with old friends, dine at old faves, drive down familiar roads, and visit old haunts. I stayed at my father's home and every time I pulled up, I felt like the 19 year old girl who was intimidated by the house and the father in it. It's interesting that although years pass, some things stay with you. In this instance, the dichotomy between love and boundaries.
Turning eighteen wasn't the turning point I'd always hoped it would be. You know how it is when you're a kid. You think the number eighteen makes you grown. Instantly. Well at least I did. Little did I know, I was in for a rude awakening. Moving in with my father after being raised in my mother's household was my own little culture shock. In Daddy's home, what Daddy said went and I was eighteen. Grown. Why did he think I was supposed to listen to him?
Now that I'm older and I have a little more wisdom, I'd say that my father wanted to use the time he had with me, to instill values that he didn't have the opportunity to, since we hadn't cohabitated since my early childhood. But let's be real: what teenager cares about the vast knowledge of the world that their parent wants to impart on them? They know everything already, remember? At the time I didn't care. I was outta there at nineteen. Too many rules and I was grown. Looking back, I'm thankful that I had parents who didn't just throw me to the wolves because I had reached a number. It wasn't about a maturity level, nor a milestone that I myself had set and passed. It was about legality. Legally, I was an adult. Reality told a different tale.
The boundaries that were set, the values that were instilled are all the reason why I am the person I am today. I don't claim to have it all together but I would be lying if I didn't say I was proud of the woman I've become. I have a long way to go, but I'm happy to be on my way. People showed up and showed out for me on my day. My friend drove six hours from Florida. My cousin flew in from Virginia. Another friend got up the day after her wedding to come and make it to my birthday brunch. Over one hundred people took time out of their days to wish me a happy birthday on Facebook. Even my eighth grade teacher reached out to me and gave me a beautiful birthday shout out. We had a BBQ at the house and it was filled with love and laughs. Tears were flowing freely, and I literally broke into my own rendition of "It's my birthday and I cry if I want to". I can honestly say that I felt sincerely loved on my day. I felt proud that people felt strongly enough about me that they went out of their way, to let me know they recognized me.
I can only conclude that since I was so loved as a child, and given boundaries as a young adult, my character was shaped into someone other people could love. Not just people that have to love you. It makes me sad for all those who have never known love, and hopeful that one day they will. To give love is better than to receive it, but receiving it feels damn good. If you are reading this, and you were one of those folks, please accept my heartfelt thank you. It's a wonderful thing to be loved, and the feeling is more than mutual. :-)