Love comes into our lives in many forms, through many channels.
If we are lucky, we love and are loved in return over and over from birth to our final days. If we are blessed, we have many who want to share their love with us, who create for us a safe place with their love. If we are wise, we are open to it, seek it, give it freely.
Out of a sea of possibilities, one of the most touching kinds of love is that given and received by children. Tenderness between one of my children and me, or between my two children has an effect on me unmatched by most other kinds of sweetness.
Is it the pureness of their love? How wholeheartedly they express it? Could it be that the sweet, genuine need of a child surpasses all other responsibilities, leaving us helpless in its wake?
This week I bade farewell to my children, and my heart is having to do without them for nearly a week. There isn’t a way to explain to a toddler what this goodbye means, or how long it will be until I return. How to explain a destination so far away when all she knows is how far up and down our street she can see? How to explain the time that will pass as “six days” to a wee girl who can count to ten but two months ago still counted “one, two, three, seven, thirteen”? Even my soon-to-be second grader only understands at the simplest of levels.
The answer is – you can’t. I couldn’t. All I could do is hug and kiss them as much as they would allow, bid them good night and send them an early morning wish as I tiptoed out, hours before they would rise.
I have been so filled up, and inspired during my time away, and I speak with them daily. I know we will all be excited upon my return, and I know they are in good hands with their father.
Yet, my heart is lonely for them. Loving them makes me a better, happier version of myself.
Our children, in fact, any children sweeten our lives in ways we cannot always explain.
My advice to you is simple.
Welcome children into your life – your own, those of your friends and families, whenever you can. Show them love, watch them grow and if you are lucky enough to have them return it, never take it for granted.
Love somebody little.
It just might be the best thing you ever do.