Emulating Love

I’ve been told we often look for the kind of love

We observed as children

Whether that love was beautiful or chaotic

We always try to find what we know

In our future lovers

Even against our best judgement

The traps that we have learned are still there

Luring us into the familiar

I only have a photo of my father tucked deep away in the closet

A man for which I have no recollection only his name

Who never made an effort to be in my life after my mother walked away

When my baby sister was a week old

He never claimed us as his own and never offered to help raise us

An absence of love, an absence of learning about myself

A father who was lost in his own life


My mother always said don’t fall for

The liars, cheaters, drug addicts or alcoholics

Try to find the better men

The ones who will love you and be honest from the get go


My mother fell in love with my baby sister’s father

And married because she fell pregnant

A rocky marriage she never wanted from the start

And a new father who claimed to love us as his own

But there was always something beneath the surface that lingered

His love for his flesh and blood was apparent

And my younger sister he had known as an infant could do no wrong


He adopted us when I was 9

My name changed to his and I still carry it to this day

He did it out of love there is no question

That he wanted us to feel like we were all the same

But when I looked at the backs of my family in the store one day

All I felt was I don’t belong


Maybe I was too old when we met

That the features of my birth father were etched across my face

It was apparent I was a little less worthy

I was always told I was never good enough

I wasn’t smart like my sisters

I would always have to work hard to be anything in life


My father’s love was hard to find underneath

The explosions of anger every morning

Screaming wondering why the fuck the dishes weren’t done

And none of us were helping my mom

I always cowered in fear and started doing any chore that was mentioned

It wasn’t that I never did them, I always did he just never noticed


If it wasn’t screaming it was the slamming of doors

And threatening to leave the house

So one day as an adult when he was no longer there

I knew it was final, somehow as a child I always knew it wouldn’t last

My father had made the same mistake as my birth father

My mother was alone to weather the storm

I had to take up the slack he had left in his wake


Not a word to his children for three weeks

There wasn’t an apology until almost 18 months later

And yet the first thing he said to something he heard me say was

You’re just like your mother

That seething disgust for someone who embodies what you hate most about your ex

At that moment I realized I was a little less loved

And the years passed and we haven’t spoken

For a child should never have to chase after a parent

For the truth or love


My mother always said don’t fall for

The liars, cheaters, drug addicts or alcoholics

Try to find the better men

The one who embodies what you need most in a relationship


My mom fell in love again with a different man

He just happened to be a family friend

And the magic began

A man who walked in and loved my mother like no other

Who walked beside her even when they argued

And threatened to bury each other in the ground out of love


A man who decided to spend time to get to know his new children

Who decided to invest in them despite their choices

Always offering advice and a hug when needed

Who offered fatherly talks on the back of a pickup truck

Or walks on a cool autumn day

Saying no matter what he’s proud of what I do

And knows that everything I want in life will be mine


A father figure who walked in and said there are no step-children in this family

There are only my children

I have a son and three daughters

A father who meant the words out of his mouth

A man that demonstrates that love isn’t perfect

It is messy, sometimes, there are fights

But everything always works out all right with space and communication

A man who no longer is just a father, but dad, Pops


My mother always said don’t fall for

The liars, cheaters, drug addicts or alcoholics

I found myself loving men who embodied my fathers

I watched my friends find poisonous men who were like theirs


I often wonder at what age we realize we are in the cycle

Of loving the wrong person because we believe that is what love looks like

After each heartbreak we find a better man to love

And although not perfect there is a gradual improvement

The men I have loved at times have shied away from communication

Some will place the blame on me

And some won’t say anything at all

Some men will ignore what I say

so that things can just stay the way they are


I look around and think I don’t want to love a man like my birth father

I don’t want to love a man like the father who raised me

I want to love a man like my new father

Who knows that communication and respect are the keys

To a successful relationship

That we are all deserving of love

Just like my mother said

Sometimes it just takes a little bit longer than others to find

In the end it is worth waiting for


I’ve been told we often look for the kind of love

We observed as children

Whether that love was beautiful or chaotic

We always try to find what we know

In our future lovers

Even against our best judgement

The traps that we have learned are still there

Luring us into the familiar


I’ve been told we can learn to love better

That the love we watched as children isn’t the only kind

Our love can change, our wants will change

In our future lovers

We should find the red flags that say he isn’t a keeper

Instead of ignoring them, let go and move on to the next one


Love that is familiar is easy to fall prey to

But I deserve a love like no other


One that sets my soul on fire

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Oh Nina you write so well! This is so hard for me to read and so true and you have me in tears thinking of your pain. I am sorry I wish it had ended sooner. Looking back if I had never moved out of my parents house I would have met Bruce at 17. But I wouldn’t have you 3 girls and he wouldn’t have Kyle. I would never wish to erase the best things in our lives. So we live and we learn and we grow as we should. Our hopes and dreams are for all if you is to find true love and be happy. Nothing is perfect nor will it ever be. But a “ happy love” is there. You just need to strive for it and you will find it. And yes “ to be buried in the garden” was in our vows. Lol. Humor and love go hand in hand. I love you sweetie. 💕

    1. Haha, I don’t mean to make you cry, I just think its natural for most people and I can think of many friends that have gone through the same. But you can’t have the good without the bad, so we learn. Love you both lots! Now get to sleep crazy lady😘

  2. I don’t know what to say! Meanly, i don’t have a word for expressing what i feel inside!
    Let me just say, It made me speechless and think of my own daughter!
    What place do i have in her mind?
    Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Hey Choepel, thanks so much for reading it. You are very welcome! I think we all become a little like our parents and in other ways we are different. I’m sure your daughter loves you lots!

  3. This was so beautiful Nina, and honest and real and gutsy and loving and hopeful. I am very grateful to have read it this morning. It is an honor when someone shares so brilliantly that you can learn from their living. ( Hopefully your uncle John will take notes too;)

  4. Absolutely phenomenally written…I still, after reading it a few times, have tears, as your heart exploded with love for your new “Dad,( &father)..Yes, Nina we should all learn from past mistakes and experiences we’ve all had, but as you have so brilliantly put it, we have to learn to love better…I can relate to a lot of your feelings, but I must say, it took a very long time for me to find “what love is really all about”..Weather people and society excepted it, I didn’t give a flying fuck, they didn’t know me, nor were they the ones that I loved or that loved me..So, Nina when you least expect it, love will find you, you won’t have to search any longer..You are a strong, brilliant,compassionate, deep and a very loving woman. .This is just a little tid bit I thought you’d like..
    If you walked away from a toxic,negative,abusive,one-sided,dead-end low vibrational relationship or friendship —-you won… And sometimes , We Can’t Always See Where The Road Leads, But God Promises There’s SomethingBetter Up Ahead. We Just Have To Trust Him..( psalm 56-3)
    So,I will close for now, and again reiterate, you are just plain friggen genius in your writings and your ability to express your true self, as others actually bury their head in the sand, and run from reality..Not you.. So, stay well, take care, and always remember your family loves you so very much and so do I.. love, Aunt Millie

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: