There is nothing you can do, nothing you can say, nothing you can throw up, spit up, shout up that will make me love you less.
There is nothing you can do wrong and nothing you can do right that will make me love you more.
I love you as is.
Period. Full stop. I love you to the moon and around the milky way and all the way back here to your messy bedroom with the three day old underwear you’ve left lying next to your bottom bunk despite how many times I’ve asked you to pick them up.
There is nothing about you that I don’t love. Not your tummy troubles or your lisp or the fight you had with that kid who disrespected your friend.
There is nothing I want to erase about you and nothing I am embarrassed about you.
I take you. Period. Full stop.
I love you even on the days I don’t like you.
And nothing is going to change that.
Nothing is going to stop me being your mom. Ever. Not middle school or how uncool I am or how you wish I wouldn’t kiss you at soccer drop off. Not how you style your hair and not what shoes you wear and not the choices you make.
Sad, maybe. Disappointed, yes, that sometimes. Angry and frustrated and irritated too.
But nothing will unhook this DNA that I have wrapped around your story as tight as the curls you insist we buzz off you every summer.
Nothing will unmake me your mother and nothing will infiltrate this space in my heart that belongs just to you.
You are part of my everything and you fill up all this nothing I didn’t know was aching away here in my heart.
You can push against me as hard as you did the day you came into this world and I will do what I did then.
I will bear down and I will deliver you into the world.
I will deliver you out of yourself and your whims and wants and demands. It will likely pain us both at times.
I might bite down until I taste blood but I will not back down.
I’m in it with you.
And you’re in it with me.
Push as hard as you can.
I’m not going anywhere.
This reminds me of a recent “argument” I had with my almost-4 year old. She was upset and told me she didn’t love me anymore, I replied “that makes me very sad, but I still love you”. She said “that’s ok – you don’t have to”.
Me: “I don’t have to, but I do. I love you very much”
Her : “no, stop that!”
Me: “no, I will never stop loving you”
Her: “don’t say that anymore”
Oh it made her so mad, and eventually I did just change the subject, but I told her no matter how angry or sad (disappointed) I am, I always love her. No.matter.what.
I had the same conversation with our 4-year-old recently, too. Love never fails.
Such a beautiful post, thanks!!
I’ve said many of those things to my button-pushing girl! And sometimes, like Kirsten said above, she tries to tell me to stop saying I’ll always love her no matter what. But I’ll never stop loving her and I’ll never stop telling her.
A true poetic rendering of a mother’s universe-sized heart. Couldn’t have said it better myself. And how true that we’re always in delivery-mode. Spiritually pushing in prayer. Pressings in for their victory and earthly completion. In love.
Oh I so needed this today, this week….
Thank you once again for such timely and insightful encouragement.
Thank you for speaking Life into a mama’s aching heart.
Wow. thanks for making me tear up at work!!!!!! My almost 7 yr old son and I are ALWAYS butting heads and I feel like he doesn’t love me one minute and then thinks the world of me the next! you totally nailed this…. “Nothing will unmake me your mother and nothing will infiltrate this space in my heart that belongs just to you.” – Thank you for sharing your heart so we know we aren’t alone in battling these buttons!!!!!!!
OK, what can you say to the mother who has basically nonverbally told her child the opposite of all the above? Every few months my 2.5 year old pushes a hidden button, and my normally patient self just erupts with rage. I have never physically lashed out at or hurt her, but today I yelled and cussed at her because she was resisting naptime (has to be rocked or nursed to sleep), fiercely keeping herself awake by scraping her dirty sandals on the white glider chair while I rocked her.
Then I did an even worse thing. I marched out of the room and started praying loudly for Jesus to help comfort her because I could not. She followed me, perplexed and weeping. How horrid… equating superficial religiosity with abandonment, tears, and being the unwitting object of wrath. Definitely not a way to preach the gospel of grace to a child.
I just need so, so much more “down time” than what I can get while caring for my “high-needs”, “spirited”, or maybe-she’s-just-normally-exhausting child. She won’t play independently, the only way I get a few minutes’ peace is to let her zone out in front of PBS Kids on the iPad, or strap her into the stroller and take her for a walk (when it’s not 98 degrees out). Going to work is no solution either (I work part-time) because all the home stuff like going to the grocery store, laundry, etc. doesn’t get done while I am gone, so that just gets shifted into the evenings and creates even more stress. My husband leaves for work at 5:30 am, so all the morning stuff is up to me.
I don’t remember the last time I had a “quiet time.” Days here begin with screaming for Mama before the sun comes up. I’m on an antidepressant. I have no time or money for counseling. I can’t go to church because LO screams and cries when I try to leave her in the nursery, and is disruptive if I try to take her in the church service.
I am sure more than one mother including myself has had that moment. When mine occurred and after I had not done the best response I went in to my sons room and apologized for what I did. I hugged him and told him I loved him and that I was sorry for how I acted. It showed him that we all make mistakes and that we can correct them, it showed me how to model repentive nature. It taught me how to humble myself.
Sounds like you are in need of someone to come along side you who can help give you some down time. Maybe there is a place in your community where you can go and she can go into the childcare and you can sit and breath for a bit, we have The Kroc center in our community and I’ve known lots of moms who have done that and there kids enjoyed the playtime. My other solution was to hire a sitter and to just get out for a while. I work full time so I understand the stress fullness of that. I take vacation days to just have days to myself. I don’t keep my son home in those days and I don’t feel bad about it either. My son was like your daughter at the age. He does much better now, he’s not perfect and I have my moments of wanting to pull my hair out but it does get better. Hold on, don’t give up.
Ah, we’ve all had those sad and disappointed and irritated moments in motherhood, and this is a beautiful reminder that we simply push past and keep loving. Lovely, lovely post.
This is beautiful! I’m sure that our Heavenly Father says many of the same things to us. Thank you for sharing your words to encourage us.
My Dad used to say this to us and now we say it to our children…”There is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you. So don’t try.” It applies to children of all ages! Thanks for the reminder.
Love it, thank you
I need to put this on my fridge for my kids to see! I’ve been telling my sons and daughters for nearly 20 years, “I’m not going anywhere.” Ms. Baker, did you write this? I want to give proper attribution. Thanks.
Oh my. This just makes me cry! SOOOOO true!