Love Me Do
The Beatles. I love them. Their 20 Greatest Hits was the first cassette I ever bought with my own money. I begged my mom to drive me to the record store across town when I was 10. For some reason, "Love Me Do", has crept into my mind several times in the past couple of weeks when facing something I have been needing to come to terms with and let go of...
My own neediness. "Love Me Do". Honestly, pretty needy.
My friends have put up with it; my husband tolerates it, if not feeds it sometimes, but my daughter? My daughter is the one. She has been sent on a mission from the heavens to rid me of this co-dependent behavior for good. How? She has no tolerance for it! With her help, I am choosing to delete it from my habits.
I had been noticing myself saying, "I love you" to my daughter, ALL of the time. Like when she wakes up, when she would be getting ready for school, when we were eating, when she was going out the door. Too much. Every time I would look at her and feel an emptiness in myself that was craving a co-dependent response to make myself feel better, is when I would catch myself wanting to say it to her. And it would feel really good, to me, for her to say back, "I love you, Mom."
I started to notice her almost being annoyed with me when I would say it. Sometimes she would say, with a slight eye roll, "I know you love me, Mom".
Now, I totally believe in spontaneous acts of love. I love catching my daughter in bizarre moments to tell her I love her, just not ALL of the time! Especially not when she is running off with her friends and I am left there only to look desperate as I longingly reach my arms for her like I am going to audition for some dramatic role in a soap opera.
Do we think our children, whom we have given most of our energy, thoughts, blood, sweat, tears, and breastmilk to, are all of a sudden going to think that we do not love them? Do we REALLY think that when they are screaming unkind things to us in heated hormonal moments that deep in their hearts they do not love us and do not remember that we love them? Why are we not confident that we have given them as much as we could for the time we have been with them? Why not be confident that they can believe in them selves, make responsible decisions, and help others?
We must believe that we love our children to our fullest potential and they know it.The love runs deep. It goes beyond words. It is in their bones, it is in their spinal cord, their DNA, their memories. All of the hugs, the cookies, the kisses on boo-boos, the tying of the shoes, the helping with the homework, the playing with the dollies, the tucking into bed, the meals, the reading of books, the hours of watching jumps into the pool, the endless time of listening to stories, the silent prayers, all of the witnessing, acknowledging, honoring we have had for them-it is all there. Our love is continually with them.
We must believe that we love our children to our fullest potential and they know it. They feel our love whether we say it or not, whether we are with them or not, whether we do things for them or not, whether we buy things for them or not. Our words of wisdom might be the first thing they recall when found in a potentially compromising situation. Our love fuels their own self love because we love ourselves enough to have take care of ourselves and have boundaries. As mothers, we must stand confident in love. We have enough. We are enough.
In order to help raise the individuals we need as leaders for the future, we must think of how motherhood has the ability to transform the world we live in. We must stop doubting ourselves and how much we love our children. We must stop comparing ourselves to other mothers. We must stop smothering our children. Our children are brave, they are strong, and they are highly intelligent. They are immensely compassionate and intuitive. It takes our model to stand in our own ways of being to show them that they are more than okay just the way they are. They too must have the confidence to act with love and seek the unknown. We must trust and support that, together, we have the ability to be the change we all seek in the world. We have the ability to love and be loved.
So, I have stopped saying, "I love you" excessively. I still get out an occasional random I love you, like when we were at the art museum together or when she is being totally silly or awesomely ingenious, just not ALL of the time. What I have noticed it that instead of a receiving back a forced, unfelt response, she too is becoming more authentic. We were walking in the woods together last weekend and she just looked at me and said, "You know what Mommy? I love you." The need is gone. I am confident. She feels loved. I am loved.
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