This month we are doing a series of blogs on the theme “Loving Each Other Well.” February is a great month to focus on our hearts and actions and the little things we can do to make a big impact on others. Join us this month as we learn ways to love moms from all backgrounds well.
Does love come in a heart shaped box? Or does it knock on the door when you haven’t had a nap and offer to watch your toddler?
I’ve been trying to think about what real love looks like to me. As a working mom with a little girl with special needs, I don’t get enough sleep and have lots of guilt moments. (We are also trying to sell our house and between staining baseboards and trying to keep the tufts of dog fur out of the kitchen corners, I feel like my life is one big pile of undone messes.) My sister came over last week and played with Zoe for two hours. I sat for just a few minutes and then took my time to go to the hardware store (and I didn’t drive the cart shaped like a race car!) finish laundry, dye my hair and saw baseboards. Zoe and Aunt Kathryn danced in the living room and I could hear them shouting and giggling as they made up words to the songs. Love.
I was talking with my friend Beth, another special needs mom, and asking her what makes her feel loved. She says it’s when other mom’s actually ‘SEE’ her daughter and compliment her. (Maddie has the world’s longest eyelashes and a smile that lights up the room.) When people at church compliment her, Beth feels loved.
Let’s face it, ANY toddler mom has challenges, but when your child isn’t walking yet, it’s even harder. Imagine carrying around a diaper bag AND a 30 pound child, in addition to your purse and groceries. Beth is amazing. You’ll see her talking for a half-hour after church with someone who needs prayer. The whole time, she’s holding Maddie on her hip. She’s smiling, she’s really listening, but her arm is getting tired and she doesn’t know how to say it. Love might be offering to hold her child for the second half of the conversation.
Love means you don’t assume you know how it feels, but you show compassion. I will never forget the doctor in the middle of all Zoe’s medical struggles who said, ‘I have two healthy kids. I can’t even begin to know how it feels to be you. You parents with special needs kids are warriors. You are fierce and strong for your kids, and I know you must get tired sometimes. It must feel like you are all alone on an island. I watch you and am amazed.’
Wow. Words. Love. An arm at the right time. Just taking the time to see beauty and complimenting it. A knock on the door. I guess we all are special needs when it comes to love.
Read more about Sam and Zoe’s story at zoeheart.org.