Photo by gogoloopie
Love is hard.
I’m more of an expert on that truth than I’d like to be. With a divorce in my past and three adolescent daughters in my present, I know all too well that love can take the shape of boulders I’m struggling to push up a steep hill. Why the resistance? Why the labor, and the infinitesimal signs of progress? Why the injuries along the way?
Love is also easy.
It’s as easy as looking straight into your child’s familiar eyes and saying that you love her. It’s as easy as remembering how she likes her tea, as easy as understanding that everyone has some bad days. It’s as easy as finally breaking down, after days of feeling a weight on your heart build, and sharing your sadness and frustration with a husband who listens and understands.
Last night, after a long day of work and a difficult evening of parenting, Jason and I sat down to make Valentines for the kids. I had a concept—creating a collage of images that represent who they each are and what we love about them, paired with a collection of words. We know these girls better than anyone—since the moment they entered the world!— and yet, it was so much harder than I thought it would be. I wanted these cards to say it all, perfectly. I wanted to make up for busy days that don’t hold and reflect the love so well. I wanted to capture the love we felt for our daughters when they were little and cuddled on our laps, as well as the changing love and needs they have as they grow—a love that seems to throw and baffle me a bit more each day.
The cards we made didn’t, of course, do all of that. They were hard to make, but they were also easy—as easy as setting aside some time to think and talk about our girls, and to make something for them. As easy as smiling and saying “I love you” this morning, no matter what side of the bed they got up on. As easy as accepting that all of our complex love doesn’t have to be contained and expressed in a single day.