Suddenly “Mommy, I Love You” Means So Much More
I remember an intentional mindset shift in my parenting several months ago. For so long I had been caught in a trap of doing and getting done. This influenced greatly my attitude toward our children and the attention I gave them.
Looking back, I recognize that I seldom read with them.
I seldom played alongside them.
I seldom looked intently into their eyes as they spoke to me.
I seemed to ignore so many of those moments where my babies reached out to me for love. I unintentionally withheld the love that they so greatly craved – quality time. I of course had things that needed to be done around the home. And those things supported my family, so I was able to justify my absence.
Until I couldn’t.
In one desperate instant I suddenly recognized how my comments of “not now” and “in a moment,” were hurting us all. It was then that I deliberately chose to spend more time on my knees building towers, and less time reaching for the keyboard. More time listening and less time pretending to listen. More time prompting, “tell me more,” and less time replying with “soon.” My heart began to fill and peace suddenly fell upon our home. A series of simple choices created a physical shifting of our daily encounters.
One day, some time after my decision to engage my children intentionally, I was putting our oldest to bed and he said: “Mommy, I love you.” In that moment my heart both swelled and broke at the same time. I was overwhelmed with the love that my four-year-old could so easily express in those simple words, and yet heartbroken when I realized how long it had been since he had initiated such an expression. Suddenly “I love you Mommy” represented more than just his love, but also an affirmation for my simple sacrifices and the dramatic effect they had in my children’s lives.
Since then I have had many more “I love you Mommy” moments in which I can recognize the sort of day we have enjoyed and how engaged I have been in their not-so-simple play. The pure joy radiating from their faces as their words penetrate my heart confirms my decision to be intentional with mothering my babies. There is a sweetness and purity in those words spoken in such little voices that feeds my desire to embrace this beautiful task of nurturing their joy and filling their hearts with my presence.