Happy Love Day, aka Valentine’s Day! I have been thinking of love – real love – and what it looks like. After I put Violet to bed last night, I came into the living room and watched Mr. M practice piano with Paprika. He had a very long day at work, and probably the last thing he wanted to do was endure piano practice. But he did – patiently, not rushing her – sacrificing the time he could have done something for himself.
In that moment, I thought to myself: that is real love. And of course, the joy I got from watching them both – that was also true love.
Yesterday, I had a long day with the girls. No matter how hard I tried, everything seemed to go wrong. When I was working with Paprika on her math lesson in the morning, she threw an enormous fit. She was moaning and groaning. I said: I am not impressed by your attitude, Missy. 😉
She ran away crying and said that I had said that I didn’t want to be her mom anymore and that I’d never loved her anyway.
While I was talking her down off the ledge, Violet (2) got into the cabinets and took out all the flour and sugar, and dumped them all over the couch and floor. She also took the eggs out of the fridge and scattered them, broken, on the floor. I think she wanted to make me a cake. 😉
I took the girls to a park, but it was packed, and when Ginger (4) couldn’t get a turn on the swings, she went nuclear. Everyone was staring at me at this little park and wishing we would leave (or just get Ginger to stop screaming) – so we left. In the car, the girls were all yelling at me for various reasons.
I started to have a little pity party – which I know sounds ridiculous.
I thought about how I am always with the kids, and if they were in school or I had help/an occasional babysitter, I might be able to have a moment to myself.
I decided to take the girls to a different park – one that is usually full of teenagers, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. I was on the phone reaching out (bitching) to Ann, and this little boy, about six years old, came over to play with Ginger.
Well, I know that’s usually never a good thing because Ginger does not like anyone she doesn’t know getting in her space. He was grabbing her – touching her – and definitely in her space. 😉
From what I could tell, I thought he had probably a severe form of Autism, and so I went over to the woman who I assumed was his caregiver and told her that Ginger has anxiety and that sometimes (okay, most of the time) she doesn’t like to play with other kids, and to not take it personally. I then went back to my phone call bitching about how I hadn’t had a moment to myself in months, and how hard that was.
As I was talking, I started watching this little boy reaching out Ginger – never giving up on trying to make friends with her. I know it sounds cliche, but I instantly realized the stupidity of my pity party. Here I was, watching this child whose struggles are so profound, and I was bitching because I don’t have time to myself. Really?!
He had an iPad around his neck that he used to communicate – and yet he was smiling and laughing and trying to bring Ginger out of her shell. She would run away, which he interpreted as hide and seek. Every time she ran away, he ran after her. He was trying so hard to make friends with her – and you know what, eventually a miracle happened. She started playing with him, despite the fact that her anxiety is so strong she never plays with kids at the park. They spent the next two hours running around the park – and even though he never said a word, a friendship formed.
I hung up the phone and spent an hour talking to the woman who I had assumed was his caregiver – his mom. We talked about how she gave up her job when he got diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome. We talked about how hard that is for her – and yet, how many gifts she’s been given because of her sweet boy.
I thought to myself: Yes, Angelman’s…that makes sense. Because when I looked at him, I saw an angel – a gift from God.
I’m not belittling the hardships his family faces, and what he goes through on a minute to minute basis – or the unfairness of it all. I just want to say that in that moment, that child was an angel to me – and I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same after that encounter.
After all this, I asked his mom his name – and do you know what she said? Finn.
Well, that makes sense, doesn’t it. His name is my last name – and I know we were supposed to meet in that moment – for whatever reason. I was supposed to have a terrible day of a stupid pity party so that Finn and his mom could knock me on my rear and remind me what true love looks like.
I remembered what True Love means – and it’s not sold by Hallmark. It’s made with blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice. It’s never giving up and it’s working until you’re too tired to work and then getting up and working some more.
True love is not something that you buy – it’s something that comes to you when you stand up bravely and do the hard work and LOVE (the verb, not the noun).
Happy Valentine’s Day – let’s celebrate True Love and all that it means. What does true love mean to you?