A life with no love in it is a sad life to live.
Over the summer, Pete and I took a puppy class with our new puppy Bonnie. The lady that ran the class has lots of experience showing dogs, training dogs, vaccinating dogs, rescuing dogs and also can euthanize a dog if necessary. She told us a story of a dog that she tried to rescue that had to be put down. The reason she had to euthanize the dog was because it had never been touched. Our trainer said that this dog had never been shown any love or attention. Because the dog was never shown any love or attention, it was too aggressive and mean to be able to adopt out to a family. This story really touched my heart. The story touched my heart because it literally hit close to home. My home. My parents.
I’ve looked at photos of my mom and I when I was younger and we did stuff together and went on vacations together. I was in a lot of the photos because I’m kind of a camera hog; however, there are a few pictures of us together. A picture that someone else took that wasn’t my father because he never went on vacations with us. He always stayed home to work. In fact, my mother and father have taken one trip together alone years before I was born—it was their honeymoon to Minnesota. In all of the pictures of my mother and I together, the pose is always the same: I’m standing behind her and off to her right side with my arms wrapped around her giving her a huge bear hug (actually it looks more like a choke hold) and my mother is smiling at the camera with her arms straight down at her sides. No emotion.
When you hug my mother or my father they do not hug you back. My father will pat you on the back once which always makes me feel like a stranger instead of his daughter. I’ve never been particularly close to my father. We don’t have a lot in common and have never had a close relationship at all, but at the end of the day, I’m still his daughter and he’s still my father. Here is what happens when I hug my mother: she leaves her hands at her sides, never embracing me, and when I unwrap my arms from around her she will turn her head to the side so that I can give her a kiss on the cheek. She never gives me a kiss back.
In my blog post, “What It’s Like to be an Only Child”, I wrote about my mother having one friend in her life when I was younger. Both women worked at the same place doing the same job. There as job promotion, something happened and they stopped speaking. In that same blog post I also mentioned the closeness that my mom and I shared and how that closeness was destroyed when I left home. My mother didn’t speak to me for close to three years, but she would still continue to give me gifts which were often dropped off at my grandmother’s house so that my grandmother could give me the gift. The gift was usually one ticket to a play or musical or ballet because she knows I love going to stuff like that because it is an activity we enjoyed going to together. Yes, I said one ticket. Who goes to a play or musical alone? My mother does. She does everything alone. My father and mother do not share the same interests. In my youth and teenage years I filled the void of having a friend because she didn’t have any. One year for Christmas, she got me a ticket to see the Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. I went all by myself. It was really lonely.
My parents care about each other. They’ve been married for over 35 years. They do practical things for each other to show love and affection for each other. My dad always gets my mom’s oil changed in her car. My mother always makes sure that my dad has good food to eat, clean laundry and a clean house to live in. I never remember seeing any physical affection when I was a kid. I’m not talking about sex. That’s something you hope you never catch your parents doing! Seriously though, my mom and dad never hugged, a kiss was always a peck on the cheek and they never held hands and like I mentioned before, and never did any fun activities together. They couldn’t even sleep in the same bed together. My dad snores like a bear and is a restless sleeper so he always slept on the couch upstairs in the loft and my mother sleeps in the master bedroom downstairs. It’s like two people living in the same house for 30 plus years living two separate, isolated, lonely lives.
It’s sad. It makes me sad for them and makes me wonder why and how they got that way. Neither of them is emotionally invested in anybody except each other on a practical level. I’m not by any means saying that they don’t love each other. It just doesn’t seem like the type of love that a husband and wife would share.
As the years go by my parents seem to get more and more isolated and as a result more emotionally detached. I have stories about them and things that they’ve done that would make you cry. They make me cry.
Can you imagine a life with no friends, no one to hug or hold hands with? I can because I’ve lived it, and I think it’s very sad. I know it’s very sad. I mimicked their actions for a long time. It wasn’t until I moved away to college that I made some friends. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college and moved back to Northwest Indiana that I went on my first date.
I’ll never forget the first time Pete kissed me. He held my hand afterwards. I was 23. I’d never really had anyone hold my hand, except to cross the street. Pete was my first and only boyfriend. When he held my hand, I remember looking at it thinking, “This is so weird. Why is he holding my hand?” When he asked me what was wrong I told him, “You don’t understand. It’s weird holding hands with someone.” It felt good. I liked it…a lot. And to this day, I’m a very affectionate person. I love giving and receiving hugs and kisses from family and friends. I like having friends. Going forward, this won’t change.
Whether it’s dog or a human being, we all need love in our lives.
Be grateful for the friendships around you. If you want love, all you have to do is seek it. It’s waiting for you. Someone loves you. Someone out there wants to be friends with you. You don’t have to be alone. I recommend you don’t be alone. You’re worth it.