Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things I Want My Daughter To Know #1: love

For this first post, on a series that I alluded to last week...okay, two weeks ago...I'm a bad blogger :commence with the slaps across the wrist, Sister Mary Clarence: ($1* to anyone who can tell me what movie that name is from!).

Focus, Alex, back to the reason for posting: what do you want to tell your daughter! Oh yeah, so I thought long and hard (yes, that is why it has taken me 2 weeks to post the first follow up to this series, I swear!), and I thought of one of the most memorable lessons my mom has taught me: Love.

Now I will go on at some point about how my mom taught me and my 2 younger brothers the importance of family love, parental love, and love for our community...but I distinctly remember my mom's first lesson on amorous love.

I was in 4th grade and was "dating" Scott Martin, who I found out in college (by a girl who I went to college with who went to high school with him) that he is gay-needless to say I know how to pick 'em. But Scott Martin was smart and funny in my 9 year old eyes, and we wrote frequent notes to each other back and forth throughout our time together. In one note my mom found in a pocket somewhere, Scott professed his love for me and evidently I had written back that I loved him too (on the same page-we were ecologically minded at a young age).

My mom was VERY UPSET. She told me that I shouldn't say I Love You to just anyone. Loving someone means something. She gave me this test to know whether I should say I love you to someone: Do you care about them as much as or MORE than your brothers. Now, she found my weak spot. I, being the oldest sister and mini-mom, loved my brothers like something crazy. I made up my mind then that I would only say I love you to my husband.

From then on, friends would casually say "I LOVE YOU" and I would casually deflect it. Even though it was not the same amorous love I didn't want my friends thinking that I loved them on the same level as my future husband. When I dated, I kept things casual (after hitting the 5 month mark, they usually fizzled by either time, distance (i was a fan of the long distance relationship), or lack of drama). I never got close to saying I love you. The few guys I came close to loving I never dated, they remained friends that I cared and still care a great deal about...almost like a brother.

While not saying I LOVE YOU did not keep me 100% innocent and pure...it kept a certain level of distance in my relationships. I am and was the type of girl that plays all or nothing. I'm not sure if I would express the severity of the love spectrum that my mom did, but I do think she gave me an invaluable lesson on what true love means at the most basic levels and how to tell it from lust or fancy or infatuation.

And yes, when I said I LOVE YOU for the first time, it was to my future husband. But, him being the love-happy-jump-the-gun type of guy he was, he said it very quickly in our relationship and I did not say it back immediately. He almost broke up with me (I found out later) because I waited so long to say it. But I said it and haven't stopped saying it with every breath of my body since.

Do you have any lessons of love? If you do and would like to post about what you want to teach your children about love (amorous, filial, paternal (some other Latin base phrase) or how you fell in love (first last or greatest), please link it up here (this is an informal linky...maybe I should formalize it with a graphic...what do you think?

*$1 of my love and devotion!


Lipstick said...

I think this post is very insightful and brimming with wisdom. Way to go!

Leigh said...

Oops, I meant to post here not on the linky, but I will anyway. But I think what I personally have and will continue to teach my chidren about love is to look for someone who shares the same morals and values. Don't ever sell yourself short. Have expectations-but not ones that are to high. No one is perfect. The best way to have the last word in an argument is by saying "I'm sorry". I always say, love is like a garden, you must pull the weeds and tend to it for it to flourish.
That's my advice. I agree with your mom, love is a mighty strong word and it shouldn't be carelessly misrepresented.

Kristen said...

You really got me thinking.

As a mother to a girl, I actually think what your mom did was genius! Mine never said anything along those lines, but I can see how you would see it differently, and not use it so causally.

I am definitely going to think really hard about telling our little one this when she is old enough. This mama is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her little girl. :)

Red and White Preppy said...

Sister Mary Clarence = SISTER ACT (1 and 2)

Lots of good advice in this post :)

Cita Online said...

I'm claiming my $1. Sister Mary Clarence = Whoopie Goldberg's fake nun name in Sister Act (I and II).

AND, why are you never on Gchat anymore? I look for you, and it says "offline". Miss you, friend.

McMommy said...

Ok, how crazy that you wrote about this today and I have a post all about McSister love today! I don't normally get all mushy on my blog, but she's pretty special to me and today was the day for the McSister debut. So I linked up.

I love what you wrote about "amorous" love though. It's a good lesson for me to teach my boys too.

Buffalo Betty said...

...but I still love you more than my luggage (even if you're too twisted for color tv)!

amanda said...

wow honey - how cool is that?

now you are making me put on my thinking cap. how to explain love to beans...

thanks for the sharing the love :)

Robin (the pensieve one) said...

(Alex...I SOOoooo wanna do this, but I'm kinda tied down to my life right now :/. DAGGUM IT! I'll let you know if I get something written and THANKS for letting me know about it :) ).