When most people think of the phrase “true love”, they think of romantic love. You know the kind I am talking about. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy and girl become “man and wife”. Man and wife start a family. And they all live happily ever after. I think that is the type of true love that most people find themselves hoping and searching for. However, when I think of true love, I don’t think of some Prince Charming waiting in my future to sweep me off my feet. I think of the day that I became a mother. It is also the day that I realized that I truly knew nothing of love until my son was here to show it to me. For me true love means unconditional love. And that is the type of love that I share with my son.
When my son was born, my entire world changed. It was as thought my entire worldview or paradigm had shifted in a matter of moments. Such a tremendous event! Suddenly the things that I had planned for my life didn’t matter as much anymore. What mattered was the little boy that the nurse placed in my arms. The (in my eyes) perfect human being that it was now my duty and blessing to love, protect, groom, and provide for.
Now, I am not the perfect parent. Not by a long shot. I make mistakes. I can be impatient. Sometimes I lose my temper. Some days I get completely bogged down with working. I don’t always cook delicious, hot meals. Our days are not always filled with fun and games. I’m certainly no Mary Poppins. But, you know what? Despite my flaws and shortcomings, my son still loves me.
The same applies for him. My son is not perfect. He is stubborn and sometimes acts as though I am just an annoying mosquito buzzing in his ear. He throws tantrums. He does things that make me want to scream and pull out my hair. However, regardless of the fact that he sometimes a downright little stinker, I still love him with every fiber of my being.
You see, that is what true love is. It is unconditional. It is looking past the negative aspects of someone’s behavior and personality and finding that they are someone who is still wholly lovable. Even when they are doing something that you do not love, that cannot strip away how much they mean to you and how valuable they are as a piece of your life.
Before I became a mom, I had never experienced this type of love. Love was something that people had to earn. And it could be lost. I have been in romantic relationships before. More than once. I thought I knew what it was to love and be loved. But those relationships came and went. The feelings of love that kept us together wore away and eventually faded. For some, those feelings of love morphed into something far less pleasant. That love has proven to be transient. This love, though, feels as though it is and will always be a part of me. An integral part of me. A part that drives me and motivates me. That makes me better. Makes me want to be someone who is deserving of that love.
That is what I think true love is. It is unconditional and unwavering. It is transforming and enlightening. It motivates and improves us. It inspires and amazes. It is not always easy, but it feels natural. I realized true love upon becoming a parent.
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