The way children love is pretty fucking unbelievable. It could be what I love most about being a mom. I love getting to experience that love: to feel it – to be wrapped in the big hugs and covered in the sticky kisses that are its currency. Here is what I’ve noticed so far about how children surpass adults in the love department:
- Kids don’t hold grudges. In fact, it seems the last thing they want to do is rehash an unpleasantry. They understand how to say or accept “sorry” and to jump to the next thing. They forgive, and they forget. Or if they do remember, they don’t keep bringing up old shit.
- Kids accept your emotions. They don’t avoid them or tell you not to have them. They aren’t trying to change you or tell you not to feel a certain way. The few times Brandon has seen me cry, he has come up and given me a hug, and patted me on the back. He isn’t a coach, rallying me to get my head in the game. He knows I’m sad and that there is no better remedy for that than love.
- Kids aren’t self-conscious. Which means they dance when they hear music, they shout when they’re excited, and they cry when they’re sad. I admire their transparency. When people say having kids makes them young again, I think what they mean is that they realize there is a better way to live than the adult way. Seeing the world the way a child does makes the world a much better place.
- Kids want to spend time with you. They haven’t learned to be cynical and look for faults in people yet. They haven’t edited friends to a specific type. They haven’t learned disdain and superiority. Instead, they want everyone to be a friend: they play with you and find something to enjoy alongside you. It’s pretty awesome, not feeling judged for what you say or do. Not having to apologize for mispronouncing a common word or rewearing yoga pants too many days in a row.
- Kids will say what they feel. In my whole life I haven’t heard, “I love you,” as much as I have in the little time Brandon has known how to wield it. And he tells me he missed me every morning when he wakes up. I swear this really happens without my prodding. Because kids are sweet and loving by default. It’s us adults that fuck them up and take that away from them.
- Lots of hugs and sticky kisses. This exact phrase is from a Five Little Monkeys book (I can quote plenty of children’s books). But I couldn’t say it better myself. The physical manifestation of an emotional feeling. I don’t know why adults feel so ashamed to be seen kissing and hugging each other. It’s beautiful to see love in the world.
There is, I’m sure, so much I’m missing in this list. These were just the first to spring to mind. Being loved by a kid is a pretty fantastic feeling. Even if I’m a lousy person, a child’s love will make me feel like I’m the most special person alive. I wish we could all love and be loved that way.