I believe in unconditional love, and how it can rise to the occasion, no matter how terribly frazzled a relationship has become.
Unconditional love can be held between many different types of people: spouses, best friends, and in my case, a mother and son. Both of my parents have been very supportive of my older brother, through thick and thin, and for my brother it was mostly the thick.
He was never what you would call the “good son”. He wasn’t exactly troubled, but he had his own troubles. He almost had a dark cloud hanging over his head, although everything that happened to him was by choice and not just happenstance.
To start the list, it was September 2003, my brother’s senior year of high school, he dropped the bomb to my parents that his girlfriend was pregnant and they wanted to keep the baby. He and his girlfriend were both seventeen at the time and had only been together for a few short months. Sound like a recipe for success? Nope. My parents were angry, but my mother never stopped loving and supporting him.
The addition to our family of four made our cute, little, house annoying and cramped. So to support our new additions, we had to move to a bigger house across town. The moving ultimately reared my parents apart. My brother’s relationship with his girlfriend didn’t last much longer either. She and my nephew were moved out. At this point it felt like the whole move across town had been for nothing. Through all this my mother never once gave up hope on my brother. She was at times angry and other times annoyed, but she never once stopped believing he could do better.
Now it’s November 2006, my brother dropped yet another bomb. I was outside helping my dad hang the Christmas lights when I heard the phone ring.
“Hello, can I please speak with Mr. Smith?” said a serious voice
“Okay, but may I please ask whose calling?” I say, the typical response.
“It’s the Boston Police Department, we have a Nick Smith in custody,” the officer replies.
My mind stops, I politely answer, and run to get my father. I tell him the jist of what is going on. With that, my dad runs inside only to find out that my brother is going to jail. We find out that he was picked up for breaking and entering with a deadly weapon, while under the influence of alcohol. When my mom found out she was devastated: How could her son, who had already put her through so much, and be selfish enough to pull another incredibly stupid stunt like this one.
Saying that my parents were furious is a complete understatement. My brother was stuck in jail and in that time my parents had to find a lawyer, pay his fines, and pay the outstanding bills that he couldn’t while in jail. Not to mention that his son still needed to be watched on weekends. My father had just about given up, but all the while my mom stood by Nick’s side and helped him how ever she could. It tore her apart inside, but this was her son and she couldn’t just give up on her son.
The one thing that bothered me most was that Nick had always said thank you for the help, but it was obvious to me he never really meant it. I tried telling my mom that he was a ungrateful, but she wouldn’t have any of it. He was her only son, and my mother isn’t the type of person to watch someone struggle. No matter what.
Nick was in jail for a total of nine months. After six months he got out, got a job, and tried to pay back my parents. Things were going well but he was out on parol, so once a week he had to go to the police department and take a urine test. After about two months time, he was taken by force by the police while at work. All the while his co-workers, as well as his boss, are watching. It ended up that his latest urine sample had some sort of drug in it that came up as illegal. So, he was back in jail for another three months, and had to appear in court yet again. My mother, yet again, defended him against my furious father. I, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with my brother, and didn’t care one way or the other where he ended up.
The amount of time and effort my mom has put into her relationship with my brother is endless and mind-boggling to think about. The only way I can really explain it is unconditional love. The bond that a mother has with her child, kept her wanting to help and support my brother. Even if it cost her her marriage and probably her sanity, but she never once gave up on him.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.