The best thing about kids is that they love you. Simple as that. They’re programmed to love you. All you have to do is show up. Insta-love. This makes parents some of the luckiest people on Earth.
With adults, you have to earn their trust, their love. You mess up, you treat them less than well, and they can take it away. Adult love is an eternal compromise, a push and pull and ignore this, don’t squabble about that. Adult love is respecting boundaries, actually, it’s respect, period. It’s rarely, if ever, unconditional.
A child’s love, if not completely unconditional, is as close as we will ever get. You can mess up. Yesterday, I accidentally clipped Dulce’s lip while trying to give her some medicine. She was very, very upset. That made me upset. I was trying to help her. Couldn’t she see that? Of course not. She’s three and I hurt her. But when she saw how upset I was, she came over and gave me a hug and patted my back. Because she loves me. Basically unconditionally. When I falter, on the rare occasions when I’m sad, it kills my kids. They don’t know what to do with themselves, and they do everything in their tiny power to make it right.
This is not a goodwill to be used generously. Take care with it. As they grow and learn the ways of the world, they will be more sparing with their love. Not to you, hopefully, but in general. And if you sap them of their optimism, if you lean on them for support because they will unquestioningly give it, you will use them up. You will teach them first hand to guard their hearts against manipulation and those who would sap them of their happiness. These are things I hope to protect them from, not encourage.
The best thing about kids is their ability to love and be loved in return with no fine print, baggage, ifs, ands, or buts. They just show up. You just show up. There is love.
It’s up to us not to mess that up. I mean, if we lose them, who will help us with the laundry?
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