I Love You — A Mother’s Valentine
Some version of feeling benevolent, enamored with or attached to another person is generally at the heart of defining what it means to LOVE. Yet, when I think of what loving can feel like as a parent I must confess that it’s often not as cozy, warm, and pleasant as the dictionary describes. I searched all over the Lowcountry for a card that authentically sums up what I want my children to know about love this Valentine’s Day but was unable to find one. So I wrote my own.
My Dearest Darlings,
I love you when you whine in line at the grocery store. I love you when I have to ask you to please not spit on my floor or put boogers on the wall or eat every snack in the house right before dinner. I love you when you throw-up in the car and when you forget my birthday. I love you when you refuse to sit anywhere but my lap in a restaurant and insist on not wearing socks when it is freezing outside. I love you when you lose your homework and when you leave the lights on in every single room that you have entered.
You love me when you forgive me for being grumpy or stressed when we are late. When you bring me pieces of trash and wood chips from the playground and random pieces of artwork from school. You love me when you stay up late with the babysitter waiting for your kiss goodnight or when you want me to watch everything you do while in the pool. And you especially love me when I tell you NO to things that you really, really want. (like a cell phone)
We all love each other when we get hangry.
We love through the hard places and tough moments and annoying qualities we dislike about one another; not because we always feel like loving but because we choose to love.
Thank-you for continuing to remind me this commitment year after year. Just when I think that I have reached the depths of my love for you, you present a new twist and I learn to love you more.
This is what it means for me to love you. This is the love lesson that having you has taught me.
Well, this and to always have snacks, as no one feels very amorous on an empty stomach.
Beth Matenaer, a.k.a. So-and-So’s mom, was born and raised in West Ashley. She’s a licensed professional counselor in the Charleston area where she owns a private practice helping adults, children, adolescents, and families. But above all, she’s the loving mother of two children.