Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Gift of Love

There is nothing like the way your baby looks at you. It is the look of pure, unearned, undeserved, just because love. My Baby will hear me or see me across the room and lock eyes with me unable to look away with the most ridiculous smile on his face. My favorite moment is the early morning, as he is just starting to stir. I love the first time he lays eyes on me, thumb in his mouth. His sleepy grin makes all the worry, stress and ache of the world fade away, babies are a really lovely package of extravagant love.

This past week my perspective shifted, as I stepped into the line of sight of my baby scooping him up his tiny body was shaking with excitement. What have I done to deserve his love? Beyond the obvious life giving choices I make each day for him, I have done nothing. He just knew to love me. We all enter into the world that way, wired to love. It isn’t until the hardships of life that we realize there is even an option to love and we become jaded.

Early on in my twenties, I was consumed by the lies I believed about myself to do, so that I could be loved. These more recent years I have been trying to break the lifelong cycle of doing and switching my brain to just being. On this quest I have discovered that I am just as loved when I am being me as I am when I am doing. There is still a battle within to do, I love multitasking so much!

I am a doer. Example, hosting a dinner party means I am focused more on what everyone around the table needs and less about the conversation happening at the table. I have to fight the urge hard and have had to learn to just sit, just be. As a mom my struggle is to let the dishes and laundry wait so I can sit on the couch a little longer snuggled up.

Being a doer has a lot of pros it has taught me to be productive, strong and a go getter. Being a doer makes it possible for me to get a lot of things done in the course of a day. Being a doer makes me really good at building relationships, hosting parties and being a single mom. As with all things the flipside has come with hefty side effects like the belief that my value falls more in what I am doing than who I am, resulting in how loved I am. I am not sure why those two things in my brain go hand in hand, doing and loving for so long were the same.

It is a disconnect, maybe it was ingrained in me as children, the drive for perfection has caused me to achieve more so I can experience love. Maybe it happened in my unique personality as I endured years of rejection from others, lies that told me I just wasn’t quite enough. Or possibly was it that I was looking at it all wrong?

One of the most astounding things I have discovered on this journey is the loyalty of love these kiddos to their birth parents. Parents who birthed them, neglected them, abused them and left them. Yet after all of that they still love their parents, it takes years of heartbreak to shut it down. We are wired to love, we love even the ones who hurt us, love is not designed to be earned but designed to be a gift.

Sometimes I hear myself apologize for being so “needy” or inconvenient, I over apologize and try to help too much. I don’t let others love me well. I spend my days trying to love the world around me well and extravagantly, but I don’t allow myself that same kindness. I am afraid that if I stop doing, then so does the love. I am working hard at rewiring my own neural pathways, separating what I do and how loved I am. Kids do a really good job at showing you that they just love you, babies think you are the best thing in the world, kids think you are the best parent in the world and yet I think of how often I fall short.

What if we all viewed love as the gift that it is, not something to be earned but received? I want to believe in the kind of love my baby has. Can you imagine if we all loved like that, what would the world look like?

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