Love is a choice, until it’s not

I remember it like it was more than 3 years ago, well, because it was more than 3 years ago. A shy, not so shy, beautiful little boy hid behind his mom, peeking around at me with mystery. Two reasons and I would never love the same again after that day.

Someone once told me, there is a special place in heaven for people who love someone else’s kids. I think there is a special place for people who love unconditionally, no matter what. There are parents who don’t love their children as much as step parents love their step kids and vice versa. I don’t have my own child so I can’t compare but I know what it’s like to love and although it would be different, the love wouldn’t be.

I know dads who complain about having to drive 45 minutes to pick up their kid or take them to practices or go to their school recital. I would drive hours to spend minutes with him, I would not only see the recital but watch the awkward rehearsals and see every game with a smile on my face. Not because it’s the right thing to do or because I want people to see it, because I love this boy unconditionally, with no boundaries, with everything I have, like he came from my own flesh.

Children are hard, he can be hard but loving a child, like truly, authentically, honestly loving him is so easy. When moments happen and all you want to say is stop, you’re annoying me, I told you 1000 times, just say you know what, I love you. I think I annoyed him because often I would say ‘Hey, you know what?!’, which I could get a reply back, ‘What?’, ‘I love you.’ After a while the response I would get back was ‘You love me right’, sometimes slightly annoyed but I didn’t care.

Coming into this role, I knew it would be challenging, it was new and I had no time to prepare or warmup. It was like going into the game cold but I knew I wanted to be in the game and never be taken out. And like playing in a game, sometimes you focus on something specifically and neglect others. Like in basketball, I would focus on passing and not turning the ball over so much that even when I had a wide open shot I would be hesitant to take it! So in this, I focused on being a dad so much because I didn’t want to turn it over and screw it up that I neglected other things. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, actually completely the opposite. By doing what I was doing was my way of showing that I cared, truly, unconditionally. I chose to love until it was no longer a choice but a habit, a reaction, it just is.

Whether it’s your kids, step kids, adopted kids, foster kids, show them you love them, tell them you love them, even if they get annoyed. I’ve never met anyone who grew up and said man, I got too much love when I was kid. Be patient, be understanding, give chances, challenge them but let them be a kid, you be a kid, teach them, show them, be consistent, support them in what they want to do, whatever it is and most of all, love them unconditionally, every day.