We Both Love You Very, Very Much

Every night, before going to bed, my daughters and I have a routine.  Whether it’s the 8:00 pm lights-out with my 1st grader or the later bedtime with my high-schooler, the day ends with the same predictable two questions: “You know what?”  and “You know what else?

Even though I’m approaching a collective 6,000 times that these questions have been posed, the answer still warms my soul.  Some days, the answer is given in a hurried, rote rush.  And some days, it gets switched up for fun.  But it’s always there.  It’s there in their bedrooms.  It’s there in the basement sleep-over.  It’s there at Disney.  It was there before the divorce.  It’s there now.


Me: “You know what?

Together: “Mommy loves me/you very much.

Me: “You know what else?

Together: “Daddy loves me/you very much, too.

Together: “Mommy and Daddy both love me/you very, very much.” 

Me: ”So, you have a good night sleep, and I’ll see you in the morning.” Sealed with a kiss.

No one ever tires of hearing that they are loved.  And for a child of divorce, it must feel good to hear that their mommy and daddy are not separated when it comes to loving them very, very much.  This certainty even applies to teenagers.  Why?  Because it’s not fake or corny or forced.  It’s real love: constant and ever present, ending their good days and bad. 

And the love that is being given isn’t conditioned on the giver’s actions.  As a divorced mom, your modified response shouldn’t be: “Daddy loves you too… but not as much as me and certainly not too much because if he did he’d show up more, call more, and pay more.”  That ain’t it.  The love is there, even if the expression isn’t as you would want it to be.  “Daddy loves you very much, too” is confirmation to your child that nothing effects that love.  A parent’s love for their child is without conditions.  And your re-telling of that love should be unconditional as well: both the re-assertion of your Ex’s love and your love for your child.

The declaration of my love is even more important on days when it is my love that’s in question.  Not all days are all roses.  Sometimes there were tough lessons that I had to enforce with my girls, sometimes I just wasn’t in the mood to take another walk around the block or play Barbie, sometimes I slipped off of the Pro-Child path and made a mess of my child’s heart.  It’s on these days, that the reassurance of “Mommy loves me very much” was most powerfully felt.

So as my daughters head out tonight, one to her dad’s house and the other to a sleep-over, I don’t need to fret over whether the routine will follow them to their beds, because they know that this love goes on.  We’ll pick-up the count when they return. 

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Relates to Divorced Situation #25: Saying “I Love You”, The Pro-Child Way: Parenting with an Ex to be released January 2010.  www.TheProChildWay.com  Ellen Kellner, all rights reserved.

 

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