Things I want my Daughter to know: Love doesn’t hurt

Ava,

Since you were born you’ve probably heard “I love you” thousands of times. You’ve heard it being said to you and to the people around you and at 7 years old, you probably have a simplistic definition of the word. For you “love” is the way people take care of you, brushing your hair, tucking you into bed at night and cheering you on at school events and for now and years to come this idea will serve you well. One day however you’re going to grow up and have a more panoramic view of the world and of love. At some point love won’t just be mommy coming to your play at school or putting little notes in your lunch box, no, at some point love will be something you seek from a partner, someone who knows and keeps all your secrets. Though the idea of you growing up and finding someone you love frightens me, I want you to know that of all the many things love can be, painful, should never be one of them.

Love does not hurt, love isn’t heavy or burdening, love isn’t ostracizing or tiring. It’s important that you never feel like you owe something to the person you love, remember love is not a commodity that can be bartered or exchanged; it is a mutual and constant contribution to one another’s lives. Love is good morning notes next to the coffee machine, love surprising your partner with peanut M&Ms because it’s their favorite when they’ve had a rough day. I want you to have positive experiences of love Ava, I want you to never doubt that you’re lovable and that you deserve the best. If ever you feel like what you have is less than love it’s okay to leave and it is okay to have love for a person but not be in love with them. Love is a freeing experience it makes you feel light and open to life so I caution you, if you ever feel the love you have casts shadows on your life, on your happiness, it is time to move in a different direction.

Most of all Ava I want you to understand that in life we will love many people. We will love people intimately, like family and as close friends and all these types of love are necessary to us growing as a person. Sometimes though, like flowers, love has a season and we must move on to preserve our own garden. When love stops feeling freeing know that it’s not your fault and you just cannot fix it sometimes. This doesn’t mean the love that once was is any less significant it just means that there is more out there for you and you have every right to find it.

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