I love that song from the Bee Gees! ...Did you sing to yourself and have the tune in your head as you read the words; "How deep is your love?"
Amazing how that happens right.
Your eyes respond to something you see, and then your mind creates signals in your body - and depending on the age you were, and what was happening in your life, the title of a song that you recognise can produce chemicals in your body that creates a feeling.
Growing up, were you ever in a relationship where you felt you loved the other so much - and it wasn't reciprocated?
And now... as a parent, do you ever feel that the love you give to your child is beyond words and beyond their comprehension? That your heart is out of your body - and you love them so deeply that they'll never understand?
Hold that thought.
The other day, I had a rough evening.
John and I are going through a season of redefining our shared vision of parenting (it is about being on the same page on parenting together - reach out if you want to find out more!)
John's trigger is dinner. John's love language is acts of service.
If you have a toddler, you might understand how dinner can be a trigger...
The experience of feeling as though our child is ungrateful, especially when your love language is acts of service, and you enjoy cooking, triggers, and rejection, hits even harder. It can cut deep - it goes beyond being about just "dinner".
So on this particular evening, I thought I would try John's parenting technique when it came to dinner.
....AND IT WAS SO OUT OF ALIGNMENT FOR MY HEART!
I was trying to please John, go against my own heart, now being a victim to my own choices, and going through this unconscious experience of blame. Silently blaming him - as though it was all his fault that I spoke to Avery the way I did about dinner.
Crazy. Yes, I know...
What happened was that feeling of resentment for myself started flooding my body.
And when this happens - love for another ain't deep.
We're in our head.
Before Avery goes to bed, he has this journal that he draws in every night. It is also his way of connecting with us and spending time with us, reflecting on his day (his challenges, joys, delights, upsets).
On this particular night, what transpired from me being out of alignment with my heart was this.
"Mamma - come sit with me..! Can you draw in my journal for me?" Said Avery.
I was so in my head I wanted to check out. It's my default. I was reading a book.
"Avery, just draw! It's your journal... " I whined (c'mon.. we adults do have our own "whining" way of speaking, right?! Tell me I'm not alone!)
"Mamma... but I don't know how to draw what I want to draw... can you come please?" He begged.
"Fine!" .. "I'm coming." I reluctantly responded. I was flooded. Hijacked.
"Don't worry, mamma - it's ok - I don't want you anymore." He looked down, away from me.
It was all I needed to "snap" out of this mode.
I felt him wanting to hold back the tears. I felt his heart. I felt the embarrassment and experience of rejection of putting himself out there asking for what he needed and then feeling ashamed and not good enough.
"I'm soo sorry, Avery. I realised you wanted connection - and that would have really hurt. I'm so sorry I wasn't in my heart." I shared.
I walked over to him.
"I said I don't want you anymore.. go read your book. I can do it myself!". He was hurt. He was really hurting.
I sat next to him. I conjured up all the forgiveness for myself... so I could hold space for both him and me.
"Hey... That was a really "sucky" moment from mamma... I didn't realise how much you wanted connection. And your heart would be hurting.. and I would love to start over if we can..... Can I join you?"
At this point, I gave him the freedom to either allow me in or give him space to navigate his terrain of disappointment and heartache. This is how we build resilience. When we feel the courage to go through our deepest depths of pain - and know another holding space loves us.
There was silence. The tears came up, he started breathing in and out of his heart.
"Ok, mamma - let's draw."
And there it is—a moment of awakening for me.
It was at this moment I became aware of something so profound which permeated my physical being.
It is this.
Our children have a depth of love for us that we'll never ever know. That it goes beyond words... and that depth of love for us that they have, is a love like no other.
I often hear about how parents talk about the depth of love from a parent to a child... almost with an unconscious flavour that it is the grandest love ever...and most selfless love.
I challenge that.
There is a love from a child to a parent that most parents won't ever understand and receive - unless we awaken to our own hurt and release ourselves from inherited patterns.
How do I know?... Because there are those of us, that are adults, still unconsciously holding onto why we aren't good enough and worthy enough of Love... as a story and as a reality - and still unconsciously seeking the validation and approval from our parents.
This then leads me to the next point. We genuinely love those around us with all we have....and it pains us when this love is unrecognised, unacknowledged, not received, and fully experienced.
That a misunderstanding causes so much trauma and pain that the other "lacks love" for us.
...and no one can heal this, but us.
And we're only able to heal this when we can hold space - to recognise and witness the emotions - and have it move through.
Otherwise, we're hijacked. No different to an auto-pilot response of reading the lyrics to a favourite song or being triggered by something like "dinner" (code for: you're rejecting my love language of acts of service).
So... today, if you're reading this, I invite you to pause and allow yourself to receive the love and feel the love your child has for you.
They are still learning. What may seem like them being ungrateful isn't. They are still building their model of Love.
Their love for you is beyond anything you would ever know... feel it in the way they forgive you. Receive it in the way that they are constantly opening up their heart to you no matter how many times it may occur as rejection, abandonment, and judgment by you.
Isn't that extraordinary.
It's not us that teaches our children, unconditional love. It's them that teaches us, unconditional love.
They really do love us - free from condition.