I was just headed off to bed a minute ago but then I peeked in on the kids like I always do. As a pulled the blanket over Luke and kissed his hand that was flopped over the rail, I looked at him and thought, “There’s my little boy. Boy do I love him.”
Then like wild-fire a whole bunch of thoughts shot through my brain:
He’s not a little boy, he’s a big little boy.
I’ve spent a lot of time frustrated with him because he’s so big.
I’ve treated him like he’s not a little boy simply because he’s so big.
And when Madeline was little I treated her like she was not a little girl because she was so smart and verbal.
I’ve spent a lot of time focused on the reasons not to love those kids.
And it’s true. It’s only been in the past few years that I think I’ve figured out how to love. It’s been a long process for me to learn to love myself and all of my mistakes, and it’s been all too easy to take out my own self-worth issues on my kids because they’re there and they’re like little mirror images of all of the things that frustrate me about myself.
There are always reasons NOT to love. We’re always going to be different from each other and annoy one another and make mistakes and hurt each other. There are an infinite number of things that can stop the easy flow of love. But that’s not what love is.
And, sure, it’s easy at the end of the day to look in at my kids when they’re quietly, calmly sleeping and reassure myself that I really do love them and have loved them all day, no matter how that day may have gone. But I’m glad that there are those calm and still moments to help me recognize that the love does not stop when all of action and chaos and friction starts up again. There are always reasons NOT to love. But I choose to love them.