In the middle of a mommy meltdown, you know the one I’m talking about; the toys scattered, laundry piling up into an uncontainable daunting mound, poopy diaper explosions for days and then the spilled milk to give you the final push you need to go ‘over the edge,’ my toddler saved me.
He walked over to me as I was holding back tears (that thing we do to “protect” our little ones) to make them think that we are ok and that life isn’t complicated and filled with complex emotions. To hide those feelings of frustration, we hold back the tears. Well he could see past this, he knew how I was feeling, but even more importantly, this wise tiny human knew exactly what I needed. He put down his toys, crawled up onto the couch, said ‘mama hug’ and proceeded to wrap his tiny arms around me. The world stopped and everything was ok, even if for just that moment.
The older we get the more ‘complicated’ life seems to become. We think we need more, we push ourselves to do more and we can become consumed by things or this inherent need for more. Babies and children have taught me a lot about myself, but even more importantly, they’ve taught me a lot about life and love. It’s just a matter of us listening.
We can spend our whole lives treading water, kicking so hard we run out of energy, but if we take a moment to stop and think it through we might realize that with a life jacket we can float. Love is life’s life jacket, it wraps around us in the simplest way (just like a warm hug) holding us up when we can’t kick anymore.
We can spend our whole lives treading water, kicking so hard we run out of energy, but if we take a moment to stop and think it through we might realize that with a life jacket we can float.
My babies have taught me that life, while full of complexities and layers of emotion, is actually quite simple. They’ve taught me that we don’t need much other than love. When a baby cries (in most cases) we go through a very short simple list: are you hungry, are you cold or hot, do you just need to be held? Of course there are situations that don’t fall into any of these categories, but for the most part, we need food, shelter/warmth and to know we are loved.
Likewise, my toddler has been able to express these very same things to me using a few words and a lot of body language. A toddler’s emotions, much like those of a teenager, are often all over the map, they are sometimes confused by this and don’t know how to handle the complexities of how they are feeling (frustration, anger, sadness and fear) all things we have battled with before. But he’s been telling me lately mid-tantrum, that he needs a ‘time-out.’ He needs a moment of peace, of calmness and more importantly for one of us to hold him and let him know it’s ok.
Love is such a funny thing, people have been trying to write about it and express its intricacies for centuries, but we always find ourselves trying to explain what it is with words that are like love; love is patient or love is kind … I think this one is better left unsaid. To be expressed without words (I know that sounds funny and crazy coming from a writer) but let’s leave this one to the babies.
To the little ones who don’t have the vocabulary to express what they want to say so they use their eyes and their touch. There is honesty and beauty in that we might never be able to capture on paper and I think there may be a reason for that.
So while we search for the perfect piece of jewellery or try to find the perfect card this Valentines day to express how we feel, let’s look to the little ones for a way of expressing ourselves, let’s give each other the hug we need, hold the hand that is reaching out and smile with our eyes, because that really is all we need.
If babies, the Bible, and the Beatles have taught me anything, it’s that love is all you need!
All photos credits go to Amanda Simpson Photography
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.