Kiko Okada


True love caught me by surprise about 40 years ago.

My husband was one of the sweetest men you could ever hope to meet. We loved each other deeply. He seemed to love everything about me, I appreciated him so much – and I was also exasperated with him.

I didn’t really understand ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, in those days. All I knew was that I was constantly picking up after this man. I didn’t want to fall into nagging, but no amount of gentle or logical requests, reminders or pleas seemed to make any difference. I even brought a 30-gallon trash can into the house and put it right under the lip of the kitchen counter. After he took his pizza out, surely he could just sweep the box in? Instead, I was the one that threw the rubbish into the can and continued to pick up after him.

He liked a tidy home, but not enough to maintain it. Even back then, I felt that sharing a space with anyone meant finding compromises to work out differences in lifestyles. Expecting him to meet my standards of neatness just because I liked to squeeze toothpaste tubes and roll them up from the bottom was stepping further into all those shades of gray leading to “my way or the highway.”

In trying so hard to find a way to wrap our differences in a box of harmony and tie it up with a pretty bow, I kept tripping over my own beliefs and habits, my own emotional attachments, my own needs for control.

As I was driving my son to pre-school on my way to work one morning, my frustration spilled out in a rush of I’m so tired of’s  and Why can’t he’s?

This was not the first time I had inappropriately crossed boundaries, complaining out loud in front of Sandor about his step-father. He had always showed an uncanny ability to know what not to say in front of different people no matter the context, so he was never the child who blurted anything out to the embarrassment of children or adults around him. More than that, he was always able to see a person’s strengths, no matter how they appeared.

What I heard from him this morning was a very quiet, short sigh, barely audible over the roar of the engine. My over-sensitivity picked it up and triggered my need to defend myself.

“Well,” I reasoned, “if somebody loves you a lot, and could do a small thing that would mean so much to you, you would think they could just do it.”

He looked back at me and said, in his simple and gentle way, “Mom, if somebody loves you, they don’t have to love you the way you want them to love you.”

His clear and quiet way was not telling me how I should be. Somehow, he cut past all the talk, all the conflicts and confusion inside me. He was showing me the way to being who I really am by being his own Pure Heart.

Another part of my True Self woke up that morning as I caught a glimpse of this beautiful boy’s Inner Compass that guided his relationship to every other living being.


Sandor – age 5