In this season of ‘love’ with Valentine’s Day having just gone by, the receiving and showing of love has gotten played out in a million ways. Some people really got into it with the chocolates, card, gifts, champagne, dinner, the works, while others, (you know who you are) de-romanticized it completely by sending a few characters via text to their special someone. While still others did nothing at all. For many years, I fell squarely in this latter group and totally resisted a day in which you were supposed to show your love to the special person/people in your life. What happened to spontaneity in which you could declare your love on March 20th or June 8th, or Nov 2nd? I was on a personal vendetta against Valentine’s Day and avoided anything remotely resembling a heart-shaped box of chocolates like it was the plague!
Marriage, motherhood and a tad bit of maturity helped me to soften my stance on my little mini-revolt. While I loved the idea of expressing your love, I still didn’t like that it was supposed to be confined to one day in February. Much like the picture above which shows opposite parts of our being (heart=feelings and brain=thinking), I felt a dichotomy of emotions.
Likewise, many preemie and special needs parents can often feel a dichotomy of emotions that, like the picture above also shows, somehow go hand-in-hand. Like a pendulum, our feelings can frequently swing wildly between the ‘loving but not liking‘ array of emotions.
a) We love our children but do not like the constant stresses of our situation
b) We love and celebrate our children’s strength but do not like the often daily medical, physical and emotional challenges they face because of their special need(s)
c) We love our children’s specialists/doctors/therapists and all they do for our kids but do not like the fact that we even have to have them as constant fixtures in our lives
d) We love our family, but do not like their non-understanding and sometimes minimalization of our daily challenges
e) We love our friends who have typically developing kids but do not like that they sometimes just don’t ‘get it’, especially during play dates and other social events with our kids. There is often a feeling of disconnect/separateness.
f) We may even love our children’s teacher/school but do not like that we have to constantly fight to ensure that our child’s basic educational needs are met.
I’m sure you can include many more ‘loving but not liking’ scenarios that are a part of your own life. As you do, it’s important to not feel guilty about it. I know it’s so easy to do and to somehow think that having these emotions (and actually admitting that you do) is bad and makes you a bad parent. On the contrary, it actually makes you a good one, and a pretty good one at that.
Why? The answer is: honesty. You’re being honest with and about yourself and your situation. This can free you up on so many levels and give you the space, ability (and perhaps permission) to be both strong and vulnerable not only as a parent but also as a person.
Maybe, just maybe this could be one of the greatest expressions of love you can give yourself and your child during this Valentine’s Day season and beyond.
If this resonated with you in any way, please leave your comments/thoughts/suggestions on this topic and/or about anything else you want to share, in the ‘Speak Your Mind’ comment box below. I would love to hear what’s on your mind. As always, you can also feel free to drop me a line at: [email protected] at any time.