How can you possibly measure love? Have you ever thought about it? I do sometimes. Especially when my boy who is now fighting the ups and downs of his teenage life asks me who my favorite child is. How can you possibly answer this question? Or if he asks me about how much I love him.
I get the questions. I get the feeling of not being the favorite child. I guess everyone who has a sibling has found themselves thinking the same thing. I get the urge to know how much someone actually loves you. But there is simply no way to actually explain it. As there is simply no way to measure it. I mean, you can’t say I love you x grams or ounces or liters, volts, watts or meters…
Love is something you can’t describe. And yet we try to explain to someone how much we love them. I said many times to my children that I love them to the moon and back and around the world and over to the sun and through the entire universe. But again it’s something you can’t grasp.
So while I try to explain to my boy how much I love him and that there is no favorite in my family it also makes me think. Questions have to be answered in an honest way. So when he asks me about who my favorite is, pointing out that he thinks I favor my daughter I recently said to him in all honesty, that there is no favorite but because everyone is different we all deal in a different way with each other.
My daughter is very much like my husband. My son is very much like me. That is a wonderful thing but it also means that my son and I have the same triggers. And that sometimes makes it hard. While my daughter evens my swings out just like my husband does, my son and I can make each others mood swings worse. Although we don’t mean to. But it’s how we react on it. Because we react so similar to it. So while I might react much calmer with my daughter although being as upset as I would be in the same situation with my son, my reaction comes across much stronger with my son. Again: Although I’m exactly at the same point.
I understand that it upsets him. I understand how he can thing that I favor her to him. Even that I love her more. But it’s not the case.
It’s one of those hard things to try to keep in control or get under control. Reactions are so deeply instilled that they are so hard to keep in check. It needs so much focus, so much work to try to change them. And if you have a moment in which you let yourself slip because you are not focused or tired it seems like the entire work you’ve done for years is flying out the window.
I guess for my son and myself the good thing is that first of all we have our solid rock people in our family who manage to ground us when we lose grip. That both, my daughter and my hubby, get us to slow down again. And we talk. And we try to explain to each other what we feel and where we are coming from.
It’s one of my biggest worries that I mess up the way people have messed up in my family. It’s something I really don’t want to do. And yet in some moments I feel I’m heading that way. I know I’m better. I know I’ve already made a big step forward in even only trying to be better. But falling back in certain patterns throws me off. It doesn’t happen often anymore. It stresses me out though when it does. Because when it does the story of the wrinkled paper or broken plate comes to my mind. Although you can fix it it will never be the same. Everything is leaving it’s mark.
This might sound very extreme. I do know that I’m a good mom. My kids are good kids. I’m not screwing them up. But I want to be an even better mom. I don’t want to fall into old habits anymore. I don’t want to make mistakes that were made when I grew up. It’s too important for me.
While I tell him that I love them both the same my love for them will never be the kind of equal love people expect. I honestly believe that there can’t be such thing as equal love. Just because people are not equal. They are not the same. So you love them in a different way. Do you love them with what feels like the same amount of love? Yes, you do. It’s just “different”. You love your daughter in a different way than your son. For all kind of different reasons.
You love your son because you can wrestle with him. You love your daughter because you can braid her hair. You love your son because he goes through things you as a woman can’t really understand while you love your daughter because she deals with the same things you dealt with while growing up.
I put myself out there when I wrote the equal love post a while back and said that I don’t love my kids equally. I put myself out there because people and even my kids one day when they might read this might understand it the wrong way. It’s so hard to describe what I truly feel. And again it’s an issue of being able to actually measure love and clearly define the “amount”. If I could I would. So maybe let’s just say that both of my children get 100% of my love, that I love them both 100% and will always do. With all my heart and all my soul.
And I think that’s the main thing…