Valentine’s Day is coming up so I’ve been thinking about the topic of LOVE. Especially the love that we have for our kids. Whenever I get together with my dear pal (you shall remain nameless but you’ll know who you are…) and the subject of her kid comes up, she always says without hesitation “I love my kid soooooo much” with a genuine look of joy and happiness on her face. It’s like the mere thought of her kid brings up such strong feelings of love, joy and peace for her in any given moment. Her kid is actually a full-fledged adult now but for years I used to marvel at how awesome her kid must really be all the time in every moment, to illicit this kind of a reaction from her mom. I mean we all love our kids…I know that. I love my kids! And I know that all my friends love their kids so much and would do anything for their kids. But in my experience it’s still rare for a parent to have this sort of automatic, immediate feeling of pure love at the mention of their kid/kids. Take me, for instance. At the mention of my kids my default response is something like, “My kids are all going through their own super annoying phases and driving me nuts.” Because, let’s get real here…IT’S THE TRUTH!!! I’ve got one who is obsessed with and constantly in need of: NEW THINGS. And in spite of the fact that we have instituted a family-wide spending freeze which started at Christmas and will continue indefinitely, he still insists on selling me on the merits of this, that or the other new thing he is 100% sure will totally revolutionize his experience of being alive. Then I’ve got one who is going through a super messy phase…she can’t be somewhere without leaving socks, shoes, tape, scissors, markers, crumbs, wrappers, toys, parts of toys, etc etc etc. Then finally there’s our little guy who has recently decided to scream bloody murder every time he feels he is being treated unfairly, which is ALWAYS. So at any moment in time you will probably find me patiently or not so patiently listening to another recital of the merits of such and such necessary item, while tripping over all sorts of things left all over the floor, while hearing a continuous blood-curdling scream in the background. And my feeling is: ANNOYED. Have I mentioned this before on this blog? In every diary entry? Riiiiiiiight….insert guilty-faced emoticon here.
So here’s what blows my mind though. All people are neutral….not inherently good, bad, annoying or lovable…it’s only our thinking that makes it so. And sometimes we may choose to think certain people in the world are bad and that’s ok. But at the same time, I find that I am accidentally, inadvertently, creating all of these negative thoughts and feelings about my kids. If my kids are neutral people in the world, why am I not choosing to love them madly all the time? The person who will benefit most from me loving my kids madly is….ME. Because I would get to feel all that love whenever I want to! Just like my friend!
So over the course of the last year I’ve been working on all those subtle thought corrections on a day by day basis…there are good sides to all of the stuff I’m so annoyed by. I love that my oldest, Theo, always has some plan of what he wants to do…selling customized goods is his latest project…which of course required the purchase of special acrylic markers and white t-shirts…so much for the spending freeze…woh woh woh…but I love that he’s doing it and he’s gotten a whole group of his friends into the idea as well. Elise does make messes everywhere but it’s also awesome that she is always coming up with fun things to keep herself busy and learning new things in the process…and Gus and the screaming? It’s not super lovable but whenever I approach him in his screaming moments he melts into a hug so easily, which is the best. See? These are much better thoughts to think…I’m so much happier with these thoughts. I love that loving someone like crazy doesn’t mean you pretend that they are perfect. You don’t have to become one of those doting parents who thinks everything their kids do is perfect all the time. And even my dear friend who always says “I love my kid” doesn’t believe her kid is 100% perfection. She just loves her so much. Which is such a beautiful thing! Btw, if you don’t have kids, this works just the same for husbands, friends, family members, etc. I’ve been doing this work on my husband, Arnor, as well and now I hardly know what our marriage is about anymore without me being constantly annoyed at him all the time…but recreating it in a new way is so worth it. And then of course, there’s the final frontier of loving myself more…and you know what’s weird, that’s the hardest one of all. I feel like I’m having a total identity crisis because I don’t even know who I am anymore without all the negativity. But it’s the identity crisis I want to have so I’m just gonna go with it. I wish you all a Valentine’s Day filled with loving thoughts about the people in your life and the resulting feelings of love, joy, contentment and peace YOU get to enjoy! One more thing: I love you all for reading this and appreciate it so so so so much! Thank you!!!