I wrote a post earlier today about LOVE being an action word. An action word that I personally choose daily to apply to my marriage. As I thought about this principal more I began to think about my children. Do I apply the same principal to them? To my littles, my minis, my minions? Do I share with them the same ardent love, the same fervor and/or ferocity that I give my beloved? As soon as I posted that last article these questions sprung up into my mind. I grappled with the response that I was to share with the world. In truth, to answer these questions is to be real. To be real is to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable is to be open to ridicule. Am I ready for such a risk? Sure why not.
Actively loving my children at times can be hard. To choose love above all other emotion is strenuous at times. Do I fail? More often than I would really care to admit. This is me being real. I am not a super woman/wife/mom. I am just a woman blessed with an opportunity. A real opportunity to love unconditionally, without reservation, wild like a fire in a dry forest. I stumble and fall just like everyone, but I rise again. I try hard to show love not just to speak it. The actions that I show my sons are the same ones that they will model in their friendships now, and later in life in their relationship with their wives. I am their first example of love as an action not just a word. This scares me to death. What if I screw this up? (A real possibility not an exaggeration.)
There are times when I model to my children the opposite of love. While those times seem to be few and far in between, it is the truth. I cannot present a front of sugar plums and lollipops all the time. There are times when my patience is tested and my nerves are fried. It is in these times when my first reaction would be one of anger and contempt. That in case you haven’t figured it out, is the complete opposite side of the spectrum from love. It is also in these times that I find it necessary to dig down deep and find that small section in my heart where forgiveness is planted. It is also in those times that I pray and ask God for guidance, patience, and a change of heart. I pray for Him to curb my tongue and still my thoughts. While this does not always happen, I find that when I practice self-control and forgiveness I also love my children in a very real and tangible way. I am modeling this love for them to see. Love becomes and action or possibly the lack of negative action.
A mother’s love has been described in countless ways. It has been described as: unending, without strings attached, at times vehement, at times passive, always protective, always nurturing, always as an action, a verb if you will. Never do you hear of a mother’s love being just a description. To love is to care for deeply… a mother’s love is meant to be deeper than infatuation. Deeper than the depths of the ocean or greater than all the grains of sand on the shore. While not all mothers can or do model this kind of love (each person comes with their own hurts, their own struggles and emotional baggage.) Most mothers’ do the best they can with the hand they have been dealt. Whether her actions are good or not so good every mother loves in her own way.
As for myself, yes I choose to daily commit to loving my children. While I am not always successful in this endeavor I will never stop striving. I want to be the solid example for my children. I want my boys to grow up without fear. Knowing that they deserve to give and receive love. With every embrace, every kiss, every stroke of hair, or back rubbed LOVE becomes a physical action. It is displayed in the form of cuddles on the couch or holding hands while we walk. It is eye contact while we are speaking, setting aside electronics for undivided attention. It is tucking my boys in at night and all the different types of kisses that come with our night-time routine (butterfly, Eskimo, and dinosaur). My sons will know without a shadow of doubt that I love them, not just by my words but by my actions.
So do I love my children the same way that I love my husband? No, I don’t. The love I feel for my sons is complicated; it is deep, self sacrificing and absolutely terrifying. It is both an action and a word.