I love you forever, no matter what.
When my son Mark was four years old, he was having one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days when nothing seemed to go his way and he couldn’t do anything right (in his mind). I told him, “don’t worry Marky, I love you unconditionally.” Mark, having been born an inquisitive child, responded “what is unconditional?”
I so clearly remember sitting on the couch and pulling him up on my lap and wrapping my arms around him and kissing the top of his curly head.
“Mark, loving someone unconditionally means that there is nothing that someone needs to do to earn your love and nothing that they can do to make that love go away.”
Again Mark looked at me with his huge blue green eyes, questioning if this was true.
“To love unconditionally means that I love you forever and ever, no matter what. If you get perfect grades when you go to school, I will love you. And if you do badly on a test, I will love you. If you are captain of the team, I will love you. And if you are cut from the team, I will love you. When you grow up, if you are president of the United States, I will love you with all my heart. If you become a doctor and save thousands of lives, I will love you just the same. If you rob a bank and go to jail, I will be disappointed with your choices but I will love you with everything in my soul around the world and back. I will always love you unconditionally, forever and ever, no matter what.”
Understanding began to spread across his face, and the comprehension grew into a huge smile. He wrapped his little 4 year old arms around me and gave me a hug.
Twenty years later, I hope that my words have been proven by my actions as I have navigated the sometimes uncertain trails of parenting. This I know for certain, when I define myself, it is first as mother. There is no greater joy in my life than to be help my boys become the men that they want to become.
So, on Mother’s Day, thank you to Christopher for giving me the gift of motherhood. And thank you to Mark, Timmy, and Jack for everything that is good in my life. I don’t know if the best is yet to come…it is pretty good right here today. I love you unconditionally, forever and ever, no matter what.