I love you just the way you are

My heart is full as I make my way into the Maiden’s bedroom tonight. Over the past few weeks there have been countless articles suggesting that parents aren’t communicating with their kids anymore. What about us? Does she know I love her?

I enter her bedroom, where the evening light casts shadows on the pink walls she so craved. She glances up from her book.

“I love you just the way you are, baby,” I tell her. I look into her big, beautiful eyes and stroke her hair. She gazes back and for a full moment pauses. Maybe I’m getting through to herMaybe this is the moment. I wait for the revelation, the smile, the sweetness of understanding.

She blinks and “beeps” my nose. “Hey, are those owl earrings?” She reaches out to touch them. “Night takes too long. I don’t want to go to bed yet.” She wriggles out of her tightly tucked covers and ruffles the pages of her latest Bobbsey Twins mystery. “I want to finish my book first. I’m almost done. I just have two chapters left. Can I read the random stories book next?” She’s sitting up now, all sleepiness forgotten.  “Oh, and I forgot to write that thing on the whiteboard. I need to do it now or I’ll forget in the morning.”

My shoulders sag and for a moment, my dreams of sweet moments with my daughter are shattered. She’s not going to respond. Am I even getting through to her? Does she know I love her? Why can’t I mother her the way other moms seem to?

And that’s when I realize: this is what it means to love her just the way she is.

To accept that she’s not going to give me the sweet return I want, when I want it.  To realize that she’s not going to react the way she’s “supposed to” react, and to embrace it. Most of all, not to love her anyways, not to love her in spite of it, but to love her because of it–because she gives and receives love on her own terms, and that’s what makes her wonderful.

I love you just the way you are.

Later, when she’s finished her book, written on the whiteboard, and been once more hugged and tucked, I give her a second kiss and turn out the light. Then I go back into the office to finish up some writing.

A few minutes later, through the half-closed door I hear a tiny voice piping out, “I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, baby,” I call. “Have a good sleep, and I’ll see you in the morning.”

I love you just the way you are.


2 responses to “I love you just the way you are

  1. Running from Hell with El

    I have had this exact moment with my corner kids many times. I really understood and identified with this post. Oh, and Happy Birthday my friend. xoxo.

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