We said goodbye to my grandmother yesterday. I got to hug all four of her children, both of my parents and my own three siblings all in one day. Everyone felt sad. Everyone felt happy.
After the hugs and the remembering and the goodbyes I went to the ocean. I needed to feel alive and it’s the place where I feel the freest to be good and sad and angry with God. I needed a liberal dose of freedom. I noticed this about the Colbecks yesterday – for better or worse we are freer to be sad in private. So I got mad and sad with my feet wet – touching the sand. At some point (like always happens by the sea) I found myself breathing: God is love.
God is love, God is love, God is love.
I thought about you, all my children. I’m away from you for the first real time in nine years of being a mother. I hopped an airplane in the first hours of the new day, long before you will wake up. It brought me here, a whole days driving away in just a few hours to mourn. I’m thinking of today. I’m thinking of my life and the people I love and God being love and there is something I need to tell you.
I love you.
I know it’s cliche and anticlimactic and I tell you every single day but please hear me. We want unconditional love from our parents – we want it, we need it. When we think it is absent it keeps us disconnected.
So know this – know it to the core of your being. I love you. And in the wise words of Rob Bell who borrowed them from God: there is nothing you could do to make me love you less.
There is nothing you could do to make me love you less.
I need to write it here, put it down. I need to build our talisman, erect our ebenezer because I mess this most important thing up. I act like your dirty clothes on your floor, or your bickering with your sister, or your performing, affects the way I love you.
Hear me say it again because this will go on as long as I live.
I will say no when I should say yes and say yes when I should say no. I will talk when I should listen. I will stay silent when you want some advice. I will chase you when you need space. I will let you go when I should pursue. I will say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, believe the wrong thing. I will work too much or too little and I will keep the house too clean or too messy. I will have too many hobbies or too few. Hear me because I will yell too much and play too little.
I will care about the wrong things.
And even though there will be millions upon millions of times when I love you well – these times when I love you wrong – when I love you not enough – when I love you like a human mother, these times will still cause damage.
So hear it again and again and again. I love you. No matter what you did last night or two minutes ago. No matter who you love, no matter how we disagree. No matter how I act.
I write it down so we can both read it and remember what really matters. I write it down as a request to please remind me when I am choosing the wrong thing, a plea to tell me when I’m not understanding. I write it down to hope you will forgive me when despite your best attempts and my own I still don’t get it. Because I am a human mother. And I need to lean hard into love.
I love you. No matter what.