Having kids changes the way you look at love. And that’s a good thing.
Before I had my daughter, I often times felt less than, not good enough and unworthy of love. Since she’s been in my life, I know now those were lies I told myself, and believed, because it was the easy thing to do. It’s hard to own up to mistakes made and live with the consequences. Even now, when the darkness threatens to overwhelm me, my daughter stands at the end of that tunnel of despair and self-loathing, little arms outstretched, showing me the only way out is through love. I used to think it was the love I have for her that would pull me back from the brink. But it wasn’t that at all. It was, and is, the love she has for me. Even when I’m not a very lovable person and might have been too hard on her, she keeps on loving me.
Watching how she loves, with complete abandon and her whole heart, always amazes me and makes me realize how much I still have left to learn about love. Whether it’s her best friend, an animal that crosses her path, the way the waves chase her on the beach, or the love of her own laughter, she’s constantly reminding me what pure love is.
And since I’m sure we could all use a little reminder, let’s take a closer look at love through the eyes of a 12 year old.
Love is smiling at every baby you see, because they are so brand new to this big, sometimes scary, world and babies need to know not everyone is annoyed if they’re crying.
Love is blowing the biggest bubble you can with bubble gum and not minding if some of it gets stuck to your face or in your hair.
Love is dealing with your step-dads’ crankiness by climbing into his lap to just “be” with him, even though he’s not a super touchy-feely-warm-cuddly person, to let him feel your love without saying a word, and rubbing his head because it’s soft and fuzzy.
Love is laughing so hard your stomach hurts but then laughing some more just for good measure.
Love is about being patient with your Mimi (grandma) when she’s asked you the same question a million times but doesn’t realize she’s done so.
Love is doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you and you couldn’t care less because it’s not why you did it in the first place.
Love is climbing the stairs to get one more thing your mom forgot to ask you to bring down the last time you were upstairs and not getting upset about it.
Love is standing up for others when they are being picked on for no reason even if it makes you a target too.
Love is being able to go with the flow and realizing things don’t always turn out how you thought, but always how they’re meant to.
Sometimes, love is just being in the same room with your mom, who is desperately trying to hold it all together and not let you see her cry, but hugging her and telling her to just let it all out, without needing to know why she is so sad.
Love is finding joy in the littlest of things like when you see the first fuzzy caterpillar of the season and you name him Bob.
Love is being thankful for all you have and realizing how truly blessed you are to live the life you lead.
Love is being responsible enough to get yourself up, pack your own lunch, get ready for school, make your mom her morning cup of coffee complete with an “I love you” note and make it to the bus stop on time, all while letting your normally awake-at-the-crack-of-dawn parents sleep in because they forgot to set their alarm.
Love is doing what’s right even if no one is looking.