I love my children unconditionally. I imagine most parents and other caregivers would agree our children could do very little to lose our affection. They will test us, absolutely, but, we will remain steadfast in our devotion.
Our children earned our love the moment they entered our lives. They owe us nothing. They need not prove a single thing. We chose them. Whether by birth, adoption, or act of faith or circumstance. We asked for them, and they answered. We owe them our love.
And in return?
They owe us nothing.
While our love for our children may be without condition, we must earn theirs.
We earn their love with our presence and time, small touches of affection, and grand gestures of apprecitation.
We earn their love with nights spent cradling their fragile bodies, and days spent cheering their fearless spirits.
We earn their love with our patience, until we lose it, and we earn it back again.
We earn their love with our praise, with our kindness, and with our encouragement.
We earn their love with our honesty, with our restraint, and with our firmness.
We earn their love with every moment spent agonizing over every decision to ensure their lives are filled with joy.
We earn their love with lessons of how to handle the inevitable sadness they will face from time to time.
We earn their love with our words, with our bodies, with our souls, and with our hearts.
How do we know when we have earned their love?
We know when they race to embrace us as we enter the room.
We know when they unleash a furious rage and collapse full of tears into our laps.
We know when they grab our hand when traversing the unknown.
We know when they crawl into our beds and snuggle just a bit closer than usual.
We know when we feel the indescribable bliss of raising humans.
Our children’s love is full of conditions, and those conditions are beautiful.
This post originally appeared on Maybe I'll Shower Today.