Do you know who I love?
I try to love them individually, not collectively, although my term for "them" suggests differently. I fail all the time.
I'm not sure if it's the weather, or the time of day, or the fact that I'm in weekend mode on a Thursday afternoon when I have to go back to work in less than 2 hours, but I am semi-seriously considering laying a few things out each year for my girls. Because I desperately want to see them blossom, and I don't want any perception of anything I said, did, or didn't say or do to get in the way of that.
What if I were to give out a disclaimer?
Here are a few things I might say:
1. Sometimes I don't know what you need. And although I know you might be going through something difficult, and you might not know how to tell me, could you please try? Because I'm trying to dig into a lot of girls' lives, and I miss a whole lot of signals in the process.
2. Depending on my day (or week or month), what has been said to me previously, or something else going on in my life, there are times when I cannot handle complaints about something my husband said or did. I try to be objective, but in the end, he has the best part of my heart a human can have, and there are times when I will be a little (a lot?) defensive. Please don't take this as a personal assault.
3. My absence from your game/play/party/concert doesn't mean I didn't want to be there. When I was choosing my own hours as a substitute teacher, I went to a lot more of my girls' events, and I still would have liked to attend more. Sometimes there are other commitments that get in the way of keeping a schedule that might seem ideal.
4. I'm human. I say thoughtless things and make lots of mistakes. I have bad days, and sometimes I'm grumpy. But overall? I love you. I try to get better at loving, but I love you imperfectly because I'm not Jesus. So when I fail you, try, please try not to let it rock your world too much. Try not to let it get you down. Try not to let it lead you to make big conclusions about life. Because I'm just a person who wants to hike with you on the best path.
And if you're ok with all that?
If you're ok with learning from and teaching someone a little older than you,
if you're ok with acting as a team to scale walls and keep from tumbling down steep inclines,
if you're ok with silence while the sunsets, keepings secrets, and digging for treasures, well, then,
we're going to have a grand adventure.