Bravo!! I think you may be the 1% of the 99% writers on Medium that finally wrote an honest title & stuck with it. Slam dunk! Home run!
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As I tell my 50% son, good job. Encouragement & acknowledgment is the key to good parenting regardless of culture. Don't feel bad; everyone else is lying about the unconditional blah, blah, blah. When my son returns from my heinous Xs, I have to metaphorically beat the X out of him. I can't stand that my son has 50% of my X's jeans. I can't stand that my X's phenotypic behavior is genetic and that my X's son comes to my sanctuary acting just like her. God is the ultimate comic & ironic, I tried to divorce my X & I’m stuck with my Xs behavior 4life thru my son.
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I know that till the day I die, I will be chained to my son but not my X, thank God for small mercies. I keep telling myself that love is not unconditional, it's just showing up despite the condition, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, baby.
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I know from a lifetime of forcing myself to love something or some-1 I didn't that force only makes the hate re-awaken. Just show up and avoid the deadbeat dad's deathtrap like Buddha & Moe did, but not Jesus. He like prostitutes & pimps.
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Even God sometimes hates Adam & Eve still (4 many good reasons) but loves Lilith & the Serpent. He doesn’t believe divorce is a sin like the Catholic Church. He even loves my X. Like U, He didn't want 2 abandon either U or your son; my X can go2 Hell.
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Here's a quote from a seagull to clear up your ambivalence as an agnostic single dad:
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"If you love something, let it go. ... If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were;"
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if they come back again, suck it up, strap it on
& deal with it unconditionally;
that’s true love ..

- Stone

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Stone

Stone

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