Sometimes it’s hard to feel a genuine connection with our children. Especially if we have a lot of difficulties with them often. But trust that love is there. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.
It’s no secret that some types of people are easier to love. It’s no secret that some types of people are hard to love. It’s not a secret that some types of kids are easier to love. There are even some types of kids who are SUPER HARD to love. The BIG secret however, is that sometimes they are your very own children. Even if they are biological. Sometimes connections are just easier with some than others.
And then we let our minds and our hearts converge on this lack of FEELING love, and we feel guilty. And when that feeling never comes, we want to quit.
But there’s a really important FACT about love. Love is an action. It’s a choice to act. Feelings are just that. Feelings. And feelings come and go. We feel happy one minute. We feel sad the very next minute. Feelings change with our circumstances. They change with our environment. We feel scared going down a dark alley, but just around the corner in the light as we see the hustle and bustle of the street, we feel peace again. In an instant. Our feeling changed.
We as parents (and spouses too) can’t base our love on our “feelings” in a current season of life. Even if the season is really, really, seemingly unending. It gets us into trouble. And plays with our emotions.
There are different types of love. 3 main ones which have Greek roots are eros, philos and agape. Eros is what we feel romantically. Which comes and goes. Philos is what we feel for our family and friends. Agape is defined as selfless love. Not receiving anything for ourselves. Just showing love. Acting in love. Showing up in love. Always.
I’ve been there. And some days I am there. For some of us, our kids have been home for years, and we still don’t FEEL the same connections with them as we do others. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love them.
My older boys (who are very typical older brothers…with trauma) were once again feeding into the issues and emotional instability of their sister (also a very typical younger sister…with trauma). It was something about her being weak and not doing something well. I was driving. Back and forth and back and forth they fought and belittled her.
Honestly, she makes it so easy to WANT to be mean to her.
But then something inside of me snapped. The things my boys were saying were just not true. She is absolutely the strongest girl I have ever met! Physically the girl is a beast. And I’m jealous of her six pack. And most importantly, she’s endured more physical (and still does) and emotional pain in her short little life than I could ever imagine.
And she’s MINE! She’s MY daughter!
I pulled that car over and screamed at my boys and told them just how very wrong they were and that she was my daughter and I was not about to let anyone belittle her like that, EVEN IF it was my other children!
I got back on the road and realized how profound that moment was for me.
It’s in there.
I love her.
My love for her is in there. And I can even FEEL love for her. Because I absolutely do love her.
Everything I do for my children, even when I don’t feel like doing them, is love. Everything. Every IEP, every sleepless night, every dollar we spend on therapy, every draining, emotional and sometimes physical fight we endure. It’s all love. And that is a deep, never-ending love that only a mother and father are capable of. And sometimes, we see their little faces and see how soft their cheeks are and catch a tiny glimpse from them, and we experience that fleeting feeling and are reminded, we are so thankful we chose love.
Feelings come and go. And come again. We all move forward. And days turn into years. And feelings still will come and go. But we absolutely are loving our children! And we would do it ALL over again and again and again.
We must not allow ourselves to get caught up in our emotions and then buy the lie that our feelings try to sell us. Our love for our children is priceless and should never be likened to a cheap feeling. We’ve paid too high a price for that love.
I have a rather large sign in my living room hanging high. It says, “Always, Forever, And No Matter What.” I bought it so it would always be there to remind my children. I never knew I would need the reminder too. It’s a choice. And I choose to love. Always, forever and no matter what.
Question: Have you struggled to feel love for your children in the past (or even now)? Why or why not? Share your story with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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