Remembe those "Love Is" cartoons from the 70s? You know, they had that naked man and woman (only, for some reason, nobody seemed to care that they were naked) who always looked starry-eyed and shared sentiments like, "Love is... teaching the baby to say 'Daddy' first" or "Love is... giving him the last cookie."
I vaguely remember buying a book of those cartoons when I was a kid (at a book fair, I think, because I doubt if my parents would have approved the purchase if they had been with me). I recently found the book (got a new bookshelf--you find a lot of things when you re-arrange your books), and Reagan has been asking me to read it to her. This got me thinking about my own "Love Is" list for my kids. It goes something like this:
...letting your daughter pour you another cup of invisible tea, even though you've had approximately 658 cups already.
...trading her your seven-layer burrito for her plain taco--even though that's what she ordered--because she likes yours better.
...taking the morning off work so that you can both take her to her first day of kindergarten. (That one is Daddy, actually.)
...letting her help you cook, even though it takes twice as long and requires more clean-up.
...reading Little Mommy one more time before bed.
...loading the "Story Time with Belle" CD-rom on your computer, even though the last kid game you loaded caused your computer to crash six times.
The list could go on and on. The things we do to show love to our kids is endless. Sometimes it's also at the other end of the spectrum: sending her to time out so that she learns to be respectful...making her drink her milk so she'll have strong bones...even sending a little defenseless five-year-old into a big, scary school so that she can become more independent and gain knowledge. (That one is happening within the week, by the way.)
Sometimes I ask Reagan if she knows how much I love her. Surprisingly, sometimes she says "no." (I'm afraid she's a bit of an emotional manipulator--she knows that kind of stuff will get a reaction from me.) But I know that when she grows up, she may look back and see things she wishes I would have done differently (who can do it perfectly?), but she will know, without any doubt, that she was and is loved by her family.