As I sit and reflect on love—since it is Valentine’s Day, after all—I can’t help but obsess over a great love in my life. This love is unconditional. It is the kind of love where you can be yourself 100% and be fully loved, cherished, respected, and safe. You can hang your hat on this love. This great love I speak of I learned, receive, and have from my parents. It is the same love I cherish for, share with, and teach to my kids.

There is a saying that you need to teach people how to treat you, love you. I’m pretty sure it is meant for romantic love, but it did get me thinking. My parents taught me how to love with my whole heart. They taught me this by example. I see it in the way they love each other. When I look at them, I see what God intended marriage to look like, and it was good. When I look at them, I see and have learned what loving your child is supposed to look like, and it too is good. I owe the constant tug of war in my heart that I feel at the end of each day to my parents. It’s the “Did I teach them, love them, honor and respect them?” questions I have at the end of the day when the house is quiet and I can think, reflect. It’s the question, “Am I guiding them down a path to fulfill the greatness God created them for?

When I have these conversations with myself, I know it’s true love, the good stuff. I recognize it from watching my parents. This love I share with my parents is beautiful and true. It wasn’t always easy, but one thing is for sure: at the end of the day, they did something right because I have more respect for them as parents, individuals, and a couple than for anyone else I’ve met. That says a lot when you are talking about people you know through and through.

What I love is the fact that, when Hayden was born, I looked at him and thought, “This is love.” The feeling where your heart is soooo full it might explode. Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly be any fuller, I had Pemberley. Amazing how muscles can expand and grow and stretch. Oh yes, plenty of room for love in the heart. It just keeps expanding too with each milestone, first step, kisses, runny noses, and moments in the trenches. Amazing how that love just grows stronger and deeper than I ever thought possible.

In short, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for all the love I have received because I now have so much to give. Happy Valentine’s Day!

1 Corinthians 13:4–9: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

  1. Peggy Fowler says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your parents. You are so fortunate to have so much love within you and with the world. One omission? Your wonderful husband Reagan. After all, Valentine’s Day is a romantic holiday. I see the love between you and Reagan and am warmed with the love and nurturing you both provide your children. You are such a beautiful inspiration to all young women and mothers. Kudos to you for all you are and all you share. Love to you and yours on Valentine’s Day and every day.

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