I love my kids to pieces and anyone who knows me knows this to be true. Yet every Valentine’s day is sort of sad for me for really selfish reasons. You see I have two children M1 and M2 but love for them is tricky due to past issues.
M2 has no problems hugging me and giving me her hand made creations from school. She tells me she loves me and tries sometimes to be good for the whole day. She enjoys the candy she gets from me and will snuggle with me most of the day if I let her. M2 has not been traumatized as much as her sister so love for her is easier and more genuine.
M1 however has been badly traumatized so love to her is something to be feared. We have been together for 10 years and she has not once given me a Valentine’s day anything ever. When forced to make them at school she would rip them up and throw them out without giving them to me. Love is hard for M1 it is frightening and in many cases hurtful. She has never once said “I love you” and would rather rot in jail then spend any time with me. This is what makes me sad.
You see M1 cannot let herself feel my love for her. When she was younger she learned that love is painful not that love is kind. Despite years of therapy there is no love in the traditional sense when it comes from her. Now I love her as a mother would love a child and M1, well she is not actively trying to get me arrested so that is her showing love. It is non traditional and not glamorous but for her it is the best she can do.
So today in church when we hear the verse “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.“ I think to myself, well it is for those of us that are truly lucky. The ones without betrayal from our caregivers, the ones who understand that love in fact does not hurt. But at the same time I have hope because as that last verse says: It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. and for my badly traumatized child it will come this way from me with an additional prayer that some day her fear will release her and she can actually feel it.