Conditional Love

You made the choice to make me,
to bring me into existence.
You decided it was alright
for me to take up residence
inside your body
for nine months.

Then you decided to raise me,
to teach me right from wrong
and to make good choices,
even though you knew I was
imperfect
and capable of error.

Just like you.

I wouldn’t say my childhood was a
nightmare;
other “parents” do far worse,
though to me
both in the moment
and in retrospect
you could have done better.

Both of you could have done better.

You stayed “for the children”
in spite of his rage,
his angered outbursts
over so many trivial things.
In all of my minor years
you only left once,
and for only a small
handful of months
before “finances” drove you
back to him.

But somewhere
in the four years afterward
you changed.
You became the angry one,
the bitter one.
You raged when I left the nest,
and abandoned me months later
during a tsunamic and devastating choice
I couldn’t escape.

“I can’t accept that”,
you claimed,
your self-righteousness and anger
clouding the difference between
the respect and support
I asked of you
and the acceptance
you so readily revoked.
Then one-by-one,
through a web of lies and deceit
hidden behind the mask of a
victim,
you turned family and friends
against me.

I’ll love you forever, unless…

It was in that moment,
and in many more since,
that you showed me
a mother’s love
can be conditional.

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