In this month's M&B column, Giovanna Fletcher says 'my children fill me with such pride, wonder and amazement!'
Growing up, it seemed to me that the most important kind of love was the one shared between a couple – the kind of love that was filled with romance that could whisk you off your feet and make you feel like you’re floating on air. Now I’m a mum, I realise that I completely overlooked the weighted love that exists between parents and their children, and within a family. I was lucky that I never had to question the bond between me and my siblings or me and my parents – even when they separated. We kids were their focus and they poured so much into us despite their own relationship not going the way they’d planned.
Maternal love might be different from the love you have for a partner, but it’s actually as, if not more, powerful. Arguably, it’s more important. Or, at the very least, it carries far more responsibility. I definitely wouldn’t have realised this growing up when, at times, I thought my parents were just killjoys wanting to suck the fun out of my life. They weren’t. Being a parent is loving someone so much that you’re willing to face their wrath when you don’t give them everything they want. The reason? Because you love them too darn much to see anything bad happen to them, and because you know it’s your job to guide them through these early stages so that they hopefully go on to make good life choices without you.
In love of the romantic kind, you get to work your way around until you finally find the right person for you, but with children you get who you get. That’s it. You don’t get to dump them when they’ve peed on the toilet seat one too many times or have acted irrationally when you ask them to finish their tea. One love is chosen, one is given. My children fill me with such pride, wonder, and amazement. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I’ve created little people who are so funny, clever, kind, bonkers, headstrong and adventurous. And those little loves continuously cause my heart to melt simply by turning to me for a hug, or suddenly stopping what they’re doing to tell me how much they love me.
Tom still manages to find ways of melting my heart in little ways, too. However, nowadays the most effective way of him doing so is when I see him playing with our boys – an act that is never for my personal benefit at all. Watching him make them laugh and fuel their creativity makes my love for him grow. So the love for my children hasn’t overshadowed my love for Tom because one continuously helps to promote the other.
I wasn’t wrong to chase the romantic kind of love growing up – I believe it was all part of wanting to feel accepted in society and finding my place – and I’ll be forever thanking my lucky stars that my search led me to Tom. But I was misguided into thinking that romantic love was the only love that would make me feel like I’m floating on air. Yes, there are tantrums. Yes, there are tears. Yes, there are moments when I linger in the shower a minute longer than I need to just to get some peace – but my children have me like no other ever will. With their little smiles, their hugs, their kisses, their love, they’ll have me forever flying high.
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