With Valentine’s Day always comes lots of talk about love. I love you, Mommy. I love my teacher. I love chocolate. I love making Valentines.
Kids are exposed to the word the moment the cord is cut in the delivery room. And it is reinforced and expanded over and over throughout their growing years Daddy loves you. See you after school…remember, I love you.
But truth be told, love is a complicated concept. It’s just not as easy as it sounds. When I work with parents who are separating or divorcing, I am always struck by this reality. There are lots of different kinds of love.
- The love a mommy and daddy have for their child
- The love one has for his puppy
- The love a child has for his teacher
- The love you have for chocolate
- The love a grown couple has for one another
Some love lasts a long long time. But some kinds of love change, it comes and goes. You can love chocolate, so much that you want to shoot it into your veins, and then wake up one day to realize you don’t really love it all that much anymore; vanilla isn’t half bad. You can have a best best friend with whom you love to spend all your time, and then you grow apart…new friends, new interests, not so much love. And there’s grown up love, the love that a woman and man (or whatever the gender combination) feel for each other. The dream is that this kind of adult love will last forever, through thick and thin. It can change colors, but it lasts. It evoles from wild, crazy, mad-about-you-love to deep, abiding we’ve-been-together-forever-familiar love. But that kind of love, too, can fade and sometimes dissolve.
Even the forever stamp isn’t really forever.
But it’s not so with parent-child love. Children need to know that the kind of love that a parent has for a child is different. Mommy love, Daddy love never ever changes; it is forever and ever and ever love. It never fades; it is full- strength forever.
With all the uncertainty in the world, with all the change that happens, isn’t Valentine’s Day a good time to share the wonder of the forever and ever love you feel for your child? I think you’d better. He needs to know it.