a needed love


He was the source of nurture at my house. He tucked me in and rubbed my back. “Tickly light please, Daddy.” He said prayers with me even though I am not sure if he knew whether or not he believed in them. When I had bad dreams, I found myself on his side of the bed, snuggling up to him to calm down.

He was also the one who came to check on us after the very loud fight when they threatened to leave one another but didn’t. “Are you guys okay? Were you scared? No one is leaving.”

And he was the one who left me a note on the night he had to leave when I was in high school. “I didn’t want things to end up like this. I will always be here for you.”

My last two years of high school I lived out of my car, moving every two weeks from one parent to the other. I never quite knew where all my clothes were. I suppose it should not have been a surprise when I drove out of town for a wedding not realizing I left my dress behind. He drove an hour and a half and dropped it off to me, hugged me, told me to have fun and then got back in the car and drove and hour and a half home. No shame, no guilt. Just love.

Then there were a few years of crazy between us. More people came into the mix and things got complex. I got damaged in the process. We all did.

I know it hurt him when I asked for space last year. I wasn’t trying to punish him or be childish and angry. I was falling apart and I needed my therapist and some time. He worried. The whole time. And it took a lot longer than I thought it would.

But now that time is over, and I hear something new in his voice when I call. Gratitude. He seems so much more aware of being glad to hear from me. He takes time to ask questions and really listen.

His love continues to keep me sane. I have always had this gut sense for what a loving parent feels like, but my mind likes to tell me that I am a terrible child, undeserving of such love, foolish and unreasonable for desiring it.

So I need the reminder that he is and the unearned love that he gives.

Desperately.

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you matter

Her words cut through my heart. There was such beauty there in the room. They were showing me where they are vulnerable. They want to be loved. I can relate.

I looked around my family room and saw a half dozen faces of young people. College. Post-college. This is not an uncommon view from my spot on the couch. We love them, my husband and I. They love our children and fill our home with life and energy and eyes dancing with eagerness.

I asked them the question I am always baffled by. Why do you like coming here? What do you get out of spending time with our crazy family circus?

“You’re real.”

“It’s honest here.”

“We are welcomed; accepted.”

“We don’t have to be our best; we can let our guards down.”

And then it was her turn. She has no idea how beautiful she is. Her purity of spirit shows through. She is honest and vulnerable and stunning.

Her voice, quiet and true said, “We are little college students, but we matter to you.”

I looked down at the journal I had been taking notes in. The pen in my hand froze between my fingers. I heard my heart pound in my ears. My gut felt like it had been punched, not by a fist but by words that were true and meaningful and struck a chord in me.

Because you do. You matter. Not just to us, but you matter in life.

I know it doesn’t feel that way. The world tells you that you are not enough. That you count for nothing. That you don’t know who you are. That you have not accomplished enough. That you are not worth the time someone would spend on loving you.

The world lies.

You are infinitely valuable. Each and every one of you.