This past weekend, David made me a Valentine’s card out of the blue. It was super-sweet, full of hand-drawn hearts. It was obvious that he spent some time and care on it. When I opened the card, there was a list of all the reasons why he loved me.
The list made me cringe.
My first instinct was that he loved me for “all the wrong reasons.” I had my own ideas about why he should love me, what was good about me in general and specifically as a mom, etc., etc. I felt a strange sense of loss. Like I was doing it all wrong. Raising my kid with all the wrong values. Cause if he knew better, he’d come up with a much more “proper” list of what was great about me.
Yes, I cringe when I read that, too. But I am trying to be honest and pay attention. I’ve learned when I slow down and pay attention to my thoughts/feelings, I can truly understand what’s at the core. And then I can look at it carefully and take it apart. And this is where the learning opportunity lives.
Anyhow, so I paid attention to my thoughts and realized that I wanted to be loved for what I thought was valuable about me. I wanted to be loved the way I wanted.
But, alas, people love us the way they love us.
We don’t get to choose.
We don’t even get to choose why they love us.
A lot of how and why people love us has to do with them. What their perspective is, what they need, what they crave, what need in them we get to fulfill. I know this because this is why I love the people I love. I love them cause of things inside me. I might love someone cause they make me laugh and I am usually somber so I am attracted towards people who make me laugh. Or people who are honest because I have low self-esteem and value those who are upfront so I don’t have to second-guess everything. On and on. The point is the reasons I love them have more to do with me than them. They might think they’re lovable cause they are interesting or creative or whatever. But I love them for reasons of my own.
The same is true for my son. He loves me because of what’s meaningful to him.
And he loves me in the way he knows to love. In the way he can show his love. In the way that resonates with him.
I think, often, we have ideas of what makes us worthy of love and ideas of how someone should show their love. If they do this-and-this that means they love me.
But even if someone doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.
After the few minutes of pausing, I looked at my son’s beautiful card and felt a deep sense of gratitude. Not only does my son love me but he wanted to show me why by making a long list. And he took the time to make it. He was creative, kind, generous, and loving. I am so lucky to have him.
And I am so lucky to be loved by him.