One day this week, as we were leaving the house for school Lily asked me “Mom do you love Izzy the most?”
I was taken back, slightly hurt that she felt that way, but curious how she came to that observation. She didn’t seem hurt or upset, she wasn’t angry, she just seemed genuinely curious. Ok. Time for a quick talk.
Before we got one foot outside that front door I gave each of the kids a kiss and told her “I love each of you as much as the other and in different ways. You all need different things from me right now and I try to show you I love you in those ways.” She immediately smiled and looked quite satisfied.
As a mom I immediately wanted to ask her “how can you think that?” but I stopped that thought. If I said that it would have changed the focus from her question about my love for them and shifted it to “what is wrong with you?”. She wasn’t wrong for asking, and I needed to meet her where she was, NOT make her feel bad for questioning.
On the way to the car we continued to talk about how the baby still needs a lot more help with simple tasks, nurses, and sometimes just needs a lot more attention. I apologized if it seems like that means I don’t love her as much but that I try to love on her in other ways. I asked her what makes her feel loved, how I can help her more often, and if we can change anything around the house/our routine to help her feel more loved. All I can say is I did NOT expect this conversation this week!!
Our society is so focused on kids being seen and not heard, making sure they behave, don’t question authority, etc, etc…and SOME of that has merit in certain circumstances. I feel that kids and their emotions/questions get brushed aside and unanswered so often. How does that help? Would we do that to another adult? Why do we do it to children? Now, am I dismissive sometimes on a bad day when all I need is patience and they fight me on every.damn.thing? Yup. “I told you so is why!” suffices sometimes those days. However, matters of the heart are MUCH more important.
I keep thinking about this moment and I am so glad we had the time and the patience for this conversation! As the big kids get older the way they give and receive love changes!!!! I never want my kids to feel unloved or unappreciated (unhappy with consequences sure, but not unloved). Bringing up children who feel unloved or unappreciated will not help this city/state/country/world improve. In the end love needs to and will win. The change starts here, at home, and it’s a roller coaster!! Oh, and between you and me, I’m white knuckling it most days 😂