When they were little, it was easy to tell.
My kids observed me with a focus so intense that it was hard to do much of anything away from their gaze. Their razor-sharp vision made it difficult to hide. They saw every frown, noticed every tear, and expressed joy to go with every smile on my face.
Their love was singular.
They grabbed my arms, legs, hair, ears, nose, and eyes. Little hands went down my shirt and up my skirt in every setting. They pawed at me as if trying to get inside again. Their physicality towards me was endless, exhausting.
Their love was almost injurious.
Mommy, what are you doing? I NEED IN! their little voices would cry from outside the bathroom door. Mommy, I had a bad dream. I need to sleep with you. Covers would be flung open to make room for little bodies pressed uncomfortably against mine for the rest of the night. Wails came at the end of every nap when they realized they were all alone, fifty feet away from their mother, the source of their comfort, nurturing, peace, and safety.
Their love was urgent.
Their lives expanded. They went to school and learned concrete things about the world outside our family. They read and understood and made friends. They brought home gifts framed in construction paper, lists of things they loved about me. I love my mom because she makes me soup when I’m sick. I love my mom because she lets me watch TV with her. I love mom because she is funny.
|"Dear Mom, You are so nice to me. I'm happy."|
"You're as sweet as candy"
"My mom likes to laugh. She makes me laugh when she says ROAR!!! [Roar!!!!]"
Their love was tangible.
They grew, and so did I. Their other interests became more important than me, and they learned to love other people and activities. At the same time, I explored new relationships, interests, jobs, and activities. They noticed. No longer was I just their mother.
Their love was admiring.
These days, I know my kids love me because they listen to my stories. They want to understand. They speak intelligently. They ask questions without reservation. They learn my lessons. They respect boundaries and expectations. They’re not perfect. They don’t try to be. They fall down and get up again. They learn from mistakes and trust me to be there to watch them succeed. They accept my forgiveness when they admit wrongdoing. They forgive me when I step over the line.
Their love is certain.
My kids love me because love is a part of who they are. They have a capacity for love that sometimes I don’t understand. They are gentle on their own. They hold us each to standards they have learned, even when I have forgotten them.
This post inspired by:
Prompt #4: I know my kids really love me because…