It’s been a decade since Andrew told me, but I’ll never forget the words that spilled out of my little boy’s heart effortlessly. Words that changed the way I pressured myself into believing I had to be the perfect mom.
Driving through carpool line, Andrew held his bag of Valentine treats and asked when they’d be passing them out in class. What he meant was, Do I have to I wait ALL DAY to stuff excessive amounts of candy in my mouth or will the teacher let us eat all the chocolate we want during morning snack time?
He didn’t care that his treats weren’t decorated with cool cartoon characters, hearts, or any Valentine Day indications at all. But I felt like the biggest failure as a mom.
The night before, Andrew reminded me he needed treats to give classmates the next day, and I had none. After we put our boys to bed, I ran to Target where the Valentines aisle looked like a bomb had exploded. Mismatched candy and gifts everywhere. No appropriate elementary school cards or treats to be found.
Humiliated, I grabbed a few packs of mini Kit-Kat bars and decided my poor child could write, “From Andrew” with a Sharpie on the back of each treat. I would apologize profusely and promise to never forget again.
The next morning as we drove to school, I wondered if I could make up my for my mom-fail with a big Valentines Day surprise when Andrew got home from school. Realizing it could mean another trip back to Target, I tried to get a sense of what he’d want, so I asked “Andrew, what makes you feel loved?”
He thought for a minute and then he said, “THIS.”
“This?” I asked.
“Yeah. This. You being with me. You driving me to school and talking to me about my day. You telling me you’ll be there when I get home. That makes me feel loved and secure. Thanks mom. I love you, bye!”
And he hopped out of the car.
This is love?
You mean, I don’t have to work myself into a tizzy shopping for a toy that will convince my child I don’t forget him, even when I forget important things to him?
I can just be here for him and that will be love. Even though I was a grouchy mom the day before, so much that Andrew asked if I was mad about something, more than once.
This is still love?
I stopped to wonder if God were to ask me what makes me feel loved, what would I say?….