Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do You Know How Much I Love You

I wish there was a "Love-Odomter." A counter of sorts to keep track of how many times you say I love you. There is a very good chance I would crash such a piece of equipment now that I am a mommy.

I tell Ellie all day long that I love her. I ask her does she know how much I love her? I ask us both how much do I love this girl? These exclamations usually are followed by squeezing hugs, nuzzles, snuggles, showers of kisses, and eskimo kisses.

There is a lot of talk going on about The Bully Movie project. I have seen clips of this movie, and heard interviews from those involved in making the movie. These stories break my heart. Bullying is, and really always has been a huge problem, for all ages. But the affects on children are far greater then on those of more advanced ages.

It makes me wonder if our kids knew how much they were loved, if we would have such a huge on going problem. I don't think we would. Unfortunately, we live in a sinful, imperfect world, and not all kids are loved the way they should be, if at all.

I want Ellie, and any future children we may have, to know how loved they are in our home. How much we treasure who they are as individuals. That they were created exactly the way God intended them to be created. I would love to think that their feelings would  never be hurt, that they would  never have to feel the sting of not fitting in or being left out, and that they will succeed and enjoy all they set out to accomplish. That is not reality. This will not happen. And that is ok. Its a good thing. Bumps along the way are what will shape them, force them to grow, make them get outside their comfort zone, and learn what it means to love unconditionally.

Our homes should be a safe place for our children. I am praying that I will learn how to make our home a haven for our children, a place they always know they can be exactly who they are, and be accepted for their individuality.

Back to the Love-Odomter. It occurred to me the other day, that most babies are lavished on with love and kisses, but that these fade over time. Unfortunately, Ellie Faith won't exactly remember all these sweet, early memories the two of us are experiencing together. She won't remember the 1,000's of time I tell her I love her in a day right now. She won't always enjoy or want me smother her with kisses.

Granted, it would be kind of weird for me to be sending Ellie off to kindergarten, Sunday School, basketball practice, or sleep-overs with the overabundance of affection I give her now. Our affections and affirmations of love have to grow with our kids.

Its easy right now to love Ellie. She needs to be fed. I love nursing. She needs to be held to feel secure. What feels better then holding a baby? She needs to be kept clean. What doesn't smell or feel better then clean chunkiness wrapped up in a towel post bath tub time. She lets me kiss her whenever, however much I want. And I mean, who couldn't love this girl!?!?

She doesn't turn snarky when I tell her how much I love her or how pretty she is. Those days are coming, I know. Those are going to be the days when it will be, not necessarily more difficult to love her, but more difficult to express my love to her in a way she will understand and accept. "You're my mom, you have to say that to me," will be said in all too short a time.

My husband and I will tell Ellie Faith she is pretty, that we think she is beautiful. I don't think this will make her vain or obsessed about her looks. While telling her she is beautiful, we will be teaching her that true beauty originates from within. We will be teaching her to appreciate the fact that she was created female - the completion and beauty of creation.

We will physically show her we love her with hugs, kisses, and providing for her well being. While I don't want Holidays to only be about "gifts and getting," I do want to make our kids feel celebrated during these times in small yet intentional ways. During those more difficult years ahead, I think having expected times they know they are going to be celebrated might help. Of course, unexpected displays of love and affection are needed as well, and are more important.

Quality time is every kid's love language. We will take time to intentionally spend time with her, doing things she enjoys or is interested in, letting her know her likes and interests are important and valid. Even if it is "just" watching that wretchedly written and acted kid's movie for the 20th time that month.

As Ellie and I share the same gender, I am going to have to learn to lead by example. Ouch! When my husband tells me I am beautiful, while in my pajamas, and my hair is piled on top of my head, like he did last night, I need to smile and say thank you, sincerely. Not have some sassy comment, that always seems to be on the tip of my tongue. Ugh.  If I want Ellie to accept our compliments, I have to show her how to accept them. If I am always shrugging off or ignoring my husband's compliments, that completely invalidates our words to Ellie. Especially her Daddy's words. And his words are oh so very important for her to not only hear, but learn to listen to.

Abilene's words from The Help have become iconic:
You is Kind
You is Smart
You is Important
What more could a parent want their child to know? I want Ellie to know we believe she has the ability to be kind, smart, and that she is important to me and her Dad.

We can do all the above perfectly, but if we don't teach her her worth in her Heavenly Father all the above will only get her so far. Jared and I are imperfect. We are not going to do it right every time, or even most of the time. Unfortunately, I often time have the mentality that "if I can't do it perfectly, or better then everyone else, why even try." I don't have that option here if I want to be an intentional and proactive parent. Luckily, if we invite Christ into our family, He will help cover all our short comings as parents. As an imperfect parent, I can trust that He will perfectly love, train, and accept Ellie when me and her dad fail.

My love for Ellie is imperfect and will fail. My prayer is that when I do fall down and fail to love her the way I should, that I will be humble enough to go back to her and make it right. Admitting my short comings. And that her Dad and I will have laid an adequate enough love foundation so that even when we fail her, she will still feel secure, safe, and cherished.

The horror and beauty of this blog world is that I will probably look back at this post in 6 months, a year, 5-10 years, and laugh, and shudder, at that silly, silly, girl who was so naive. But perhaps also, when Ellie is old enough, she will come across these words, maybe once after I have miserably failed her, and be able to get a glimpse into the deepest part of her mama's heart for her and see how much I imperfectly love her!

I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don't have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2


  1. Awesome, awesome post!! I so agree with this. My parents have always taught us the importance of being able to accept compliments, and I LOVE your take on it - how if we can't, then we're invalidating our words to our children. That is SO true. Thanks for these powerful words of reminder, Amy... the importance of love. :)

  2. Thanks Josey! Accepting ANY type of compliments is SO HARD for me to do for some reason, but I am really working on for Ellie's sake!

  3. This post brought tears to my eyes. As a mother of teen daughters I remember being where you are now. We had some years where they wanted to push away some, we just pushed right back and now they are at an age where they are coming back in while college campus tours are looming. They know. They feel it. They will remember it.