“Would you love me if…”
Five words from the mouth of my middle schooler.
Five words that struck my heart in a way that I will never forget.
Five words that could have changed our relationship as parent and child, for the better (or for the worse).
Five words that let me realize the value of and the need for unconditional love.
We were driving home from school and he asked, “Would you love me if …?” You can fill in the blank with whatever action you want. It is not the choice of behaviors here that matters.
What matters is my reaction to his words.
I was caught off guard. I was not prepared to justify my love for him. But in a single moment, with just those five words, my heart was challenged to put my motherly love into words of affirmation, words of trust, words that would put his heart at rest to know his mama loves him always.
This conversation I had with my teenager years ago still resonates in my heart. As I watch my older children (now ages 15, 17, and 21) make choices that could very well affect any life paths available to them, I am reminded that no matter what I love them, fully, completely, whole heartedly. I am reminded that they each need to hear those words from me. I love you no matter what.
And, they need to believe in the truth of those words.
Teenage years are tough. Battling peer pressure. Finding peace in one’s own self. Navigating relationships. Enduring an increase in the challenge of academics.
Parenting teenagers is tough. Battling the want for independence. Finding peace in giving consequences to unacceptable behaviors. Navigating relationships. Enduring an increase in the challenge of teen attitudes.
But through it all, I know that when push comes to shove, I love my children no matter what. And in the end my love for them (and theirs for me) is what matters.
Whether they date who you think is best for them
Whether they choose the college you want
Whether they earn the grades you think they have the potential to earn
Whether they surround themselves with friends that you approve of
Whether they lie and lose your trust
Whether they live the life you envision for them …
They are yours. You are theirs. And no matter what, your children need to know that they can always come back to the safe embrace of their mama’s love.
So whether or not your teen actually uses those words “Would you love me if …”, know that is what their heart is testing.
When the teen attitude reaches its height, would you love me if …
When he wrecks the car, would you love me if …
When he fails a test, would you love me if …
When the perfect girl breaks his heart, would you love me if …
When he chooses to drink irresponsibly, would you love me if …
When he chooses to move to another country for a job, would you love me if …
When he decides to change his college major (again), would you love me if …
Maybe your kids aren’t teens yet, but they will be. And when that time comes that they question you and your love, reach over and embrace them tightly and whisper into their ear, “I will always love you. No matter what.”