Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Quid Pro Quo

I am getting ready to blast my own self right out of the water here. I think I was pretty old when I think I finally understood the term "Quid Pro Quo." I loved it when people used that term; I always nodded my head like I knew what they meant. But I didn't. This morning I realized I still don't know what it means. Or rather, how I've been using it in my own life with Taylor. Let me just say that I hate it when any public speaker begins by giving us a definition of a word out of a dictionary. Something goes off inside of me and I say, "Oh Lord, this is going to be so boring. He has had to resort to giving us a definition right off the bat. Why couldn't he (the speaker) just say what they know to be true?" (Anybody else feel like this?) But, too bad; here it is: QUID PRO QUO
Lat. 'what for what' or 'something for something.' The concept of getting something of value in return for giving something of value. For a contract to be binding, it usually must involve the exchange of something of value.
Is that what we call an operational definition? One from which all of us (just us chickens gathered round here this morning) will use? Yep, I believe it is.

For you see, for all of these years, I have prided myself on how much I give to Taylor. I just give and give and have secretly awarded myself "Mother of the Year" plaques and trophies for all that I have done. I give him something of, clothing, training, a home, constant care, love, scooters, movies---yes I give him all of that. And until just this minute (man am I dense!!) I have created a story around all of my giving that makes me look like a big she-roe/heroine or something. I think for all of these years I have been making sacrifices and rearranging my life and doing without, so that I could fully raise this unique son of mine. And, here's the kicker: I have told myself that there is not quid pro quo going on/taking place. I give. He accepts. I give if I want to. He accepts graciously. It's one sided. My valuable life---off course, off center, rearranged, off the track, derailed----to take part in the life of this handicapped man child who doesn't even thank me. Whoa. Slow down. Regroup. Rethink. Re-visit this whole quid pro quo thing. Something of value for something of value. Hmmmm. Makes my stomach ache. Where have I been?
Because you see, I have tricked myself into believing that what we give needs to be external---things, career, money, prestige, importance, recognition, success. So, I have given Taylor things ---feel free to re-read the entire list above of all that I've given. But what of value has he given to me? How does this turn into quid pro quo? What for what? The definition--the one right out of the legal dictionary says very plainly that for my contract with Taylor to be binding, there must be an exchange of something of value. Well, obviously I have fulfilled my part of the contract. Right? But what about him? What---of value--has he offered?
Let's see: Unconditional love. Complete and open acceptance of me and of others. A kind and generous heart never withheld no matter what. Pure joy.Consistent and unrelenting approval. Delight in my whistling and how I look in short shorts.
Willingness to sing and dance in public. Total ease of people who look different.
Waking up every day with a clean slate--for me, for you.
Quid pro quo. I have a contract with my son. I am his mother. I am his friend. The contract is binding it appears. We have both given things of value. Seal this deal.
However, I think I need to work on my "things."
I have heard it said that the best things in life are not things after all.
I think Taylor knew about this all along. He cut straight to the chase.
He was doing the whole "quid pro quo" thing---giving something of value--way before I even caught on to the definition.
I guess he was waiting for me to figure out what has value.
Do you know?