True love, unlike what it says in the Princess Bride..
…does not always mean finding that perfect person – the soul mate which you spend the rest of your life. Nice ideals bred out of the romantic illusion sold over the last few hundred years since Prince Charming slipped that slipper on Cinderella’s foot.
For us, Valentine’s Day is a panicked rush where I scrounge to help three children make Valentine’s Day cards for their classes while loading them up with dollar store chocolates hoping most of them are nut free. Valentine’s Day means staying up late to set a table laden with felt hearts and small gifts because a tradition was inadvertently started when your eldest child was four years old and you are now locked into it – even if all you want to do is get yourself to bed and watch a show on Netflix or read a book. Valentine’s Day means rushing home and not getting any work done because you need to make those chocolate heart cakes for their afternoon snacks – even if it is out of a box. You do all of these things – even if you don’t want to – because you’re a parent. If that isn’t true love, then I have no idea what is.
From what I have learned being a parent means living every day for true love.
You know it’s true love when:
- Get up early every morning to make sure little people get a half decent breakfast before school.
- Become a taxi cab driver who works for free and drives everywhere.
- Sleep in your car because you’re too tired to take a walk outside after the morning school drop off and ensuing arguments in the car because a kid forgot something.
- Wash and fold clothes non-stop. (Or until you give up and close the door pretending laundry doesn’t exist.)
- Give up caring how messy their rooms are because you want them to express themselves – even if it secretly drives you a little crazy.
- Still say “I love you” at the end of the day – even if they are being argumentative, moody or downright rude.
- Walk away – at any point – without losing your cool and put yourself in a time out.
- Try not to cry or make a big deal when they do the dishes for you without asking.
- Force yourself away from the playground after you heard someone was bothering them.
- Finally – you know it’s true love when you keep waking up each morning and say to yourself – “It’s a new day. Today will be better.” But you secretly know it will be the same and you get up anyway.
For all the tired parents out there who may wonder who are the people who go out for a nice adult dinner on Valentine’s Day – once your kids are off their chocolate highs from the copious amounts of candy they had at school (or brought home) – give yourself a pat on the back. You know what true love really is and you live it each and every day.