With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I am constantly being reminded that this Feb. 14 will not be a dozen roses or chocolates kind of situation. Actually, I take that back. I will most certainly be buying my two little boys some extra chocolate this year and perhaps they will share. But as much as you want to resist it, it's really hard not to think about the subject of love when it's all around you. A wise woman once told me that throughout your life you will fall in and out of love with your husband. That butterflies don't last and marriage can be a testament to your ability to forgive again and again.
But if that is always true, then why are my husband and I having these impossible conversations with our kids about how we love each other but not enough to stay together? If anyone ever tells you it is easy to end a marriage with children they must be lying. There is always that fear that you are ruining love for your kids. You don't see divorce in the Disney movies.
. . . Yikes. Gulp. Breathe.
Anxiety sets in along with sweaty armpits, rambling words, and the desire to pull the covers over my head and hide while someone else explains it to these angel-faced boys. I have boys. How do I not screw up this unique gift of opportunity to mold them into exactly what a partner would want or to be so aware of themselves they find the one that will last forever? I want them to be happy and meet that person and live the most perfect life.
Right now they are more interested in Wonder Woman's invisible jet than how pretty her eyes are, but the day will come — probably faster than I'm ready for. So how do you do it? How do you tell them what love is when you obviously don't exactly know yourself? How do you tell them to fight hard for love because it's the only thing that really matters — yet in the same breath . . . you get my point. Especially when they are growing up in a society where you need to be validated every five minutes. Where your ideas about love are brought to you by Facebook and reality shows. How will they know what is fake and what is real in the world of love?
The reality is, I can only tell my boys what I imagine to be truths, and let experience and stubbornness guide them the rest of the way through the years they will undoubtedly spend in the card aisle. Trying to pick the one that's not too cheesy yet will still end up on her Instagram with little hearts as the caption.
And so I think I know this, boys . . .
If you want to love someone forever, trusting them is key.
Always be honest to your person. Even if it hurts, it will always hurt them worse if you're not.
You can't control anyone else's heart.
. . . And you most definitely can't control your own.
When you break someone's heart — do it as if it's made of glass.
When your heart gets shattered — heal like it's made of titanium.
And find a good playlist to grieve along with you. Music is essential to heart repair.
I think, if we went through life without heartbreak we would lack gratitude, and we sure as hell would know even less about what actual love feels like.
If you feel that feeling — you'll know the one . . . follow your heart without regret. Because even if you only feel it for a short time, you are capable of feeling it again.
Even when things get bad. Even when love falls out . . . there are always sparkles of happiness left behind to remind you it was there and sometimes it shines in the eyes of two perfectly imperfect little boys.
Love is an enigma. It's different for everyone. And it's beautifully complicated.
Children are the greatest evidence and achievement of love.
But that's only the view from my path — yours could be much different. No one will ever be able to truly tell you about love. It's literally unexplainable I've decided. Experience and stubbornness will win out over my advice. It's like asking me how to describe how I know I love my kids. No words will come out . . . the tears don't make noise. I'm left speechless.
So, boys, there is only one thing I can say that's universal as the countdown begins to another Feb. 14:
Love each day you live, even when you don't have that special someone to share it with and read carefully now . . .
Any day is a perfect day to give someone you love chocolate, not just Valentine's Day.
Even if it's just your crazy mother.