Each year as we enter the month of February, and are accosted by Hallmark's version of love where everything has to be perfect and lovers never quarrel, it's interesting to reflect on a mother's love. What a contrast it is to the giddiness of romantic love. We gladly make sacrifices in the smallest of ways so our children can feel loved and appreciated.
How do we love thee, oh little ones?
We love thee enough to take away the things that could cause excess worry. Many times when you say, "Mommy, I can't do this," we sense your frustration and respond with, "That's OK. Just leave it for me. I'll finish the job."
We rescue you.
We love you enough to turn your frown to a smile. A merry heart really does act like a medicine. Sometimes it only takes a tickle to bring on a smile.
We teach you to be joyful.
We love you enough to give you chores and expect you to do them. One day you'll be on your own and you'll need to know how to do dishes and laundry.
We allow you to learn responsibility.
We love you enough to answer your questions, one after another, because we know how important the answers are to you. We want you to learn about your world so you will gain understanding.
We encourage your curiosity.
If you draw a picture for us, we make a big deal over it like it is the finest piece of art in our house. Our response to your work often encourages more "masterpieces." Who knows what you'll do when you grow up?
We want you to be creative.
When you say, "Look at me, Mom!" we're all eyes. You have our attention. We tell you that you're doing a good job.
We want you to feel special.
When we sense that you're upset, we'll try to find out what's bothering you. Even if you don't seem like you want to talk, perhaps you're just waiting for us to open the door for conversation.
We want you to know that we're not here just for the good times. We want to help you through the bad times, too.
Sometimes we ask you questions about your favorite book or television show. Do we really want to know about it? No, we want to know about you. What do you like? Why do you like it? How can we foster those interests?
We are interested in what makes you tick.
We love you enough to set boundaries. There are some things you cannot do. There are some places you cannot go. There are some things you should not see. Limits are not intended to stifle you. They are meant for your protection.
We want to keep you safe.
We listen to your dreams, your hopes, your goals. If there is a way for us to help you achieve, we want to be there for you.
We want you to be successful.
Valentine's Day is Monday, Feb. 14. What can you do in the next 10 days to show love to all the little Valentines in your life?
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.