One of my favorite insights from the series Parenthood connected the storyline from early in the series when Amber, the oldest granddaughter, is in a car accident from a stupid, drunken decision. Even despite her family’s immense fear and concern, and her near fatal injuries, she was not really convicted about her behavior. That is, until her grandfather Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) takes her to see the car. He tells her that he dreamt of her—Of having grandkids. And that she did not have permission to interfere with his dreams.
Fast forward to later in the series.
Amber is dating a Vet with PTSD and the makings for a serious addiction. The moment she breaks up with him she recounts the insight she gained from the accident and her grandfather. She says something along the lines of—
“When people love you, you have to take responsibility for that love”
Our culture reveres the go after your dreams attitude and do what’s best for you. But, this insight is about the responsibility we have to care for ourselves in honor of those that love us. WOW!
I know I didn’t give 2 shits about that in my 20’s. It has been parenthood and now aging parents that have shoved my nose right up into this reality, like a dog that pooped in the house.
It’s not always easy or feel fair to consider my loved ones when making decisions—but when I flip the script it makes sense. I worry about them and they worry about me.
Practical example—I broke my arm this year. (Loooong story for another post)
Presently, I’m on the upswing after surgery and ready to get back to my activities. It destroyed my summer and I’ve been damned to let it ruin my winter. If you spend any amount of time with me you know it, winter is my jam—at least snowboarding. While I’m not a super big risk-taker, usually pretty careful, when I’m riding all that goes out the window.
I love to ride
I feel alive.
Out-of-control but in-control.
Just the right amount of adrenaline.
And here’s where reality sinks in and the responsibility of love won’t leave me alone.
No one in my inner circle wants me to ride this year.
I’ve been balking hard.
But when my husband finally verbalized his legit fear—breaking my arm again, or in a different place, or worse.
I finally got it!
I had to hear if from him. Someone who does the sport with me, knows my skill, and my passion AND STILL has fear around it.
Taking responsibility for that love means postponing my riding. It means yielding my desires to my peoples’ fear because it will ease the tension for them.
I will be riding this year, make no mistake. I’ll give but not that much!
In a day and age and a culture where we are taught to stand up for ourselves (and rightfully so in some context), I am learning that sometimes we must stand down.
Sometimes it is the most mature, altruistic, and healthy thing to do because—
I am responsible for caring for the love my people have for me.
A Therapist who should know, but doesn’t