Learning to love unconditionally

By Kristen Bourgeois

Parenting is about learning how to navigate through life’s challenges with your little ones. As a young parent, I thought love would come naturally and easy. And, sometimes, love does work that way. But, sometimes, love isn’t easy and, if I’m completely honest, I don’t always know what I’m doing.

Somewhere along the line, in my own upbringing, I attached task completion and success with my own lovability. And, I definitely don’t want to pass that belief system onto my boys.

Recently, my oldest son exited a speech therapy session with his head hanging low. When he saw me, he covered his face; I had never seen him like this before. He had a rough speech therapy session and had shut down, no longer willing to participate.

After speaking with the therapist and then speaking with my son about expectations at therapy, we got into the car to drive home. As we drove home, I had my own set of emotions:  frustration, disappointment and sadness.

As I looked through the rearview mirror at my sweet boy hanging his head low, my heart aching for him, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart. My oldest needed to know he was loved; no matter what.

When we got home, we had another talk. I looked into my son’s eyes and told him that I would love him on good days and on bad days. He smiled, we exchanged a great big bear hug, and he went off to play with his younger brother.

Exchanging “I love you” is sweet and necessary, but I’ve now added an addendum to our “I love you.”  I now say: “I love you” with my son finishing my sentence with confidence: “no matter what.”

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