Most people think of Valentine’s Day as a day for lovers. However, I remember that when I was growing up my mom and dad would always get us a little something for Valentine’s Day. My mom usually presented us with cookies or stickers and my dad always got me a rose (to compliment my mother’s dozen).
When my daughter woke up this morning, she sleepily padded into our bathroom as I was getting ready for work. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mama!” she said as she rubbed her eyes. I had actually forgotten all about the holiday.
I crouched down and gave her a big hug. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I said, “…do you know you are one of my most special Valentines?”
“No,” she said. “Why?”
“Because before I had you, I had absolutely no idea how much I could love someone.”
Here’s what I meant.
I love my parents. I love my friends and I absolutely LOVE my husband. But never in my entire life did I feel what I felt when I held my children for the first time. People tell you about it and you don’t really believe them (much like you don’t believe them about the pain you will experience in labour!). It’s because you can’t possibly understand.
I told my daughter that she and her brother not only brought out these feelings of love in me, but that they teach me what it means to unconditionally love another person. Every. Single. Day.
They love me for who I am. Never once has either of them ever asked me to change. Not even when I force them to eat kale or demand that they turn off the TV.
They forgive me (and actually forget and move on) – even when I so spectatularly lose my shit, yell and scream and make a holy show of myself.
They believe in me. In their eyes, there is nothing that I can’t do. It’s powerful when someone looks at you like that.
They want me to be happy. Truly. The best moments we share are when we are absolutely present – having a dance party, tickling each other until we can’t stand it, devouring ice cream sundaes – I can see how much they love to see me happy.
They make me want to be a better person. Even when I think it’s not humanly possible (aren’t I perfect?)…all kidding aside, I want to be a worthy example for them.
I know there is something finitely precious about the time when your children are young and see you in this way. There is so much to be learned from this and I want reciprocate by loving them the way they love me now…for their entire lives.
Unconditionally, empathetically, selflessly and joyously.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and the loves in your life!