Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Is there such a thing as too much love?

There is one thing I can say without hesitation about my husband: He is a fantastic father. He is loving. He is thoughtful. And perhaps most importantly, he is there. A lot. Another thing you should know about him is that he's a scientist by nature. He thinks analytically. So sometimes the things that come out of his mouth sound cold, but really they're just observation.

My husband thinks I'm too needy when it comes to words of admiration. Maybe he's right. I can't help but eat up any words of praise that come my way. But it's my belief that most people want to think that they're the bees knees to at least one person on this planet. Makes sense to me that for most, family is where to fill that need because, let's be honest, there aren't too many other people out there who are thinking of your welfare from day to day. (And for some family isn't even a reliable source.)

One day, I was fawning over my children, cuddling and snuggling, praising and preening. My husband later commented that I wasn't doing them any favors by giving them such extravagant showings of love and admiration. The world doesn't work that way, he said. When they grow up, they're going to have a tough time without it. At that moment, his comment sounded ridiculous to me. I brushed them off with a dismissive waive of my hand. Pshaw. Hold back my love to protect my children? Um, no. I don't think so.

Logistically his argument seemed ridiculous. How would I even go about editing my displays of affection? Academically, I couldn't help but mull over the possible validity of his suggestion. As a conscientious parent I do all kinds of uncomfortable things in the name of my children's welfare. I've endured tantrums over a denied cookie because it would send the wrong message to give in. I've sent my little ones to preschool when they were nervous about being away from me for the sake of socialization and emotional growth. I've sent them to sleepovers in the name of independence, all the while anxiously awaiting the inevitable Midnight call to retrieve them. So why does it seem so ridiculous to go outside my comfort zone when it comes to love? To reserve praise in order to prepare my children for their cold, hard future? Yes, children thrive on love and praise. But we've all seen the articles about how too much praise is not good. The argument that not EVERYONE should win a trophy.

Someone once said to me, "If you knew you were going to have to eat McDonald's for the rest of your life starting one year from today, would you start eating it now?"

A rhetorical question if there ever was one. So is there such a thing as too much love? Maybe, but somehow it seems wrong to withhold whatever I have to give. So I'm giving it. Freely. I'm offering as much love as my babies will take because I think love is why we're here on Earth. Everything else is stuff we made up and deemed important.