How to Love

Sometimes BE says and does things that are completely contradictory. For example, she is very fond of saying, “I love you momma” several times a day. Now, I’m not complaining about that, but I do think that she mostly does this just to be reassured.

Anyway, we were in the car recently, and she told me that some kids don’t know how to love. I told her that was ok. Then, she told me that she didn’t know how to love. I told her that was ok too. I explained my philosophy – that love is part feelings and part decisions. That sometimes, you don’t always feel that you love someone, but that doesn’t mean that you quit. You remind yourself of the commitment, the decision that you made. And sometimes, you don’t start to love someone until after you’ve committed to the relationship, until you begin to treat them lovingly.

BE said that she thinks J and I tell her that we love her just to be nice. Of course, I responded by saying that in that case, we would be lying, and lying is not nice at all.

I was rather pleased with myself until the next day when BE told me that she wished I weren’t her mother anymore. Why? Just because she didn’t want to take a bath. Don’t “they” always say something about taking two steps forward and one step back? To BE’s credit, she later apologized – totally unprompted.

BE loves it when I write this on her sandwich bags (I normally use her full name of course).

2 thoughts on “How to Love

  1. Try giving her something to say when she feels like that. Something that is harsh but not hurtful to you. Tell her when she feels like that she is allowed to let you know but it has to be by saying, “mom, I’m really, really mad at you right now” or “do you have any idea how angry I am right now”.

    I did this with my son the first time he pulled the “I hate you” thing. I was surprised how much it upset me (having likely said it once or twice myself as a kid) and in a calm moment later I told him it wasn’t allowed because I knew it wasn’t true and it just hurt my heart too much. That he could say this or that to let me know he was mad, it’s fine to let me know, but it’s not allowed to say things that hurt my heart.

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