My funny Valentines

Valentines Day is tomorrow.  I'm sure you're all aware.  As is the case every single year, my blog reader has been filled hearts! and cupids! and treats! and love!  It's a little overwhelming, and if I'm being honest, in many cases feels saccharine and over the top.  Don't get me wrong - I love Valentine's Day.  I've posted about it before.  If I've learned anything over the past few years, it's that, as my dear friend Madelyn says, Love Always Wins.  

So in celebration of that day of love, I want to send a valentine to my biggest little loves of all: my babies - forever babies they will be.  

Dear Baby Littles,

Valentine's Day isn't usually a day for a love like ours - it seems to be a romantic holiday for grown-ups.  But you two have taught me more about love than anyone else in this world.  So I want to send you my own special Valentine.

Recently, I heard someone make a comment about divorce that made me think of you.  This person said something like "divorce will forever change who your children are."  At first, it was like a punch in the gut.  As much as I love you and know you, I will never, ever know what kind of toll the divorce in our family took on you.  I remember something your Daddy said to me in those final days - "they will always have each other."  And it is true.  The two of you are each other's bread to the butter, peas to the carrots.  I've done my very best to listen to you, to be open to your fears and questions and to assure you, over and over, that even if your Daddy and I are no longer married, we are, and always will be, a family ... if not in the traditional sense.  You are, and always will be, loved fiercely.  So anytime someone talks negatively about divorce and children, I immediately get a little defensive and protective. 

But this comment stuck in my craw a bit. Because I don't think it's fair.  Or, rather, I don't think it's necessarily an accurate criticism of divorce.  I think pretty much anything I can do as a parent has the potential to change who you are forever. After all, your Daddy and I are the ones who probably have the most power to shape who you are and who you will become.  So rather than focus on the fact that we are divorced, I want you to focus on the good that has come from it.  On the happiness that you see.  And on the reinforcement from me, from your Daddy, from your grandparents, and from everyone else in your family who has shown you, time and time again, that love always wins and that you are surrounded in an unyielding cocoon of love.

I hope you have learned that love is an infinite, yet amorphous, thing.  That you are loved in an intense, amazing way, but that that love may not fit a particular mold.  And that there is always room for more love in your life.  Love always wins.

I hope you know that as much as I love you (and I love you a million) and even though you both take up the center of my very strong heart, that you are not, and never will be, the absolute center of my life.  I love you. I love your lives.  I love everything about you.  But you are not, and will not be, the center of my existence.  I have passions in my life.  And you are one of them. But you are not all of them.  I want you to learn that lesson and carry it over into your own life: never, ever make your passion or the center of your life be another person.  That is no way to live.  Find yourself.  Find what you love.  Love fiercely. But love yourself.  

I hope you remember forgiveness.  The two of you have shown me an incredible amount of grace and forgiveness.  There are days when I know I am not the best mom: I cry; I overreact; I lose my temper.  I have learned to take a moment and then come back and apologize to you.  To articulate, in a way that a 6 and 8 year old can understand and appreciate, that sometimes Mommies have bad days.  And that, in particular, your Mommy isn't perfect and she's sorry.  I hope when you are my age that you have children with the capacity for love and forgiveness that you two have -- and that you can feel the way I do when one of you hugs me and pats my back with your teeny tiny hands.  It reminds me that in this life with all its ups and downs, I've done something really right.  The hug from one of my amazingly compassionate children truly does make everything better.

I hope you know that nothing is hopeless.  Nothing.  That even on your darkest day, there is light if you look hard enough.  And if you cannot see it, I hope that you have people in your life to assure you that it's there.  You are my people who do that.  On the days when I really do feel bluer than blue, you make me laugh and remind me that a better day is ahead.  Tomorrow or the next day or maybe in a week.  It's there.  And in the meantime, let's have ice cream and watch Wheel of Fortune and laugh. That a good belly laugh fixes almost everything.  

I hope you remember that I am always thinking about you and wondering about you.  I don't worry - you're both incredible human beings with tremendous, unique personalities.  Both of you have more empathy, compassion and affection than I can ever dream to have myself.  But during each day or weekend when I'm not with you, I wonder what you're doing, what you're thinking, what you're feeling, what you're learning.  I will tell you that when you were born, I never imagined being apart from you.  It is the absolute hardest part about our current situation - that I am not with you every day or that I do not get to see your sweet faces every single day.

I am proud of you.  And I want you to be proud of me.  When I watch you play soccer or gymnastics or basketball or swim, my heart nearly bursts with pride out of my chest.  I see you scan the crowd for me and for my face, and I really do hope that my beaming expression shows you how proud I am.  And just like you, I want you to be proud of me.  I can't wait to tell you about my races.  When I rounded the Olympic Oval at Ironman Lake Placid, my first thought was "where are my kids and I hope they can see this."  Not because I wanted you to watch ... but I wanted you to be proud of me.  And to know that anything, absolutely anything, is possible.  

You are both quick to say "I love you" and "I need you" and "let's snuggle."  Don't ever stop.  The world will try to change that sweet, optimistic desire to love and be loved.  Don't let it.  You've rekindled that kind of love in me, and I can't thank you enough.  

So, I do hope that I have changed who you are.  I hope that your sense of love and how to love has gotten stronger in the past few years.  I hope you know that no matter what happens, no matter who comes in (or out) of our lives, that we will always have each other and that I will love you - love love love you - more than anything.  

Love always wins.


See you swoon,

1 comment:

  1. This made me cry, my friend. You've been a rock for me as we've both gone through some rough times over these past few years. I hope I've been one for you, too. We've both changed our children, yes ... but I'm sure every day that we've done so for the better. I love you and I love your baby muffins.