Thoughts and such like.....
This blog is way off the usual one, except that it is part and parcel of our lives - Love for ourselves, our families, our friends, our animals... the list goes on and on. When we read about Love it's usually around the romance with our/a partner. However the type of love I'm focusing on is that we have for our kids, and other family members, as well as the love we hold for our friends, near and far.
The topic came to mind this last weekend when my kids invited me to go with them and revisit the Island I used to take them to every Summer, so that we could create traditions and have a vacation that didn't cost an arm and a leg.
As a single parent there wasn't a lot of money for vacations and other opportunities, so I decided to find a place that worked for me and also for them, and where we could all relax and have fun. I found an Island that had a family friendly campsite that I could book annually. Now the thing about me you should know is that I hate camping, I don't like sleeping in a tent, the bugs, the dirt, not being able to shower regularly etc.. and we started when they were two and five so I had to find somewhere that I could allow them to roam, without losing them. I had never build a campfire, put up a tent on my own - that first year the beginning of the vacation was not pretty. The last time we visited was when my youngest was 18!
My kids loved going and looked forward to it each year, and we set up rituals, listening to Pooh Corner (see left window for link), and repeating the story with the reader, buying ice cream at the caravan between the islands, having hot dogs for dinner the night we arrived and ten cents for candy from the camp shop, just some of the rituals carried out year after year.
This weekend I celebrated my birthday and my boys decided to return the favour, they booked an Airbnb for a long weekend, where we could shower, enjoy the Island and yet sleep inside! I finished two books and a whole load of knitting!
This is another reminder that I did something right in bringing them up - Love is so important, doesn't matter whether you have a lot of money or none, showing up with your family in as many ways as possible, doing stuff with your kids rather than buying stuff can demonstrate in so many ways how much you love them. Being present, not only in body, but in mind and spirit. When we went on vacation, my boys would put my phone away, so that I couldn't and didn't check for messages, this was their time and my time. They recognized, even at a young age, that I needed to recharge my batteries, and so in their love for me, they insisted that I hand it over! And, I honoured them, even when they'd gone off with friends I didn't go and find the phone to catch up, just got my book, knitting and relaxed. This weekend was a blissful enactment of those vacations, without the campsite and bugs!
I also received so many birthday wishes from friends, and family, here and abroad - people I work with that I have never met in person, friends from school in another country, at another time, as well as friends I've met in my journey over the last few years. I felt loved and appreciated, accepted for who I am, important at any age!
Love means what, not ever saying you're sorry, actually it means saying sorry, but also a whole load more - it means accepting another unconditionally. I sometimes have said to my kids that I love them, but at that particular moment I didn't like them! Or rather I didn't like what they had done/said... but that it was important for them that they knew I still loved them.
So my question to you is how do you demonstrate your love for family and friends? I mean what are you doing differently, not buying, but showing in subtle, wonderful, meaningful ways how you love each individual?
Remember only you are in charge of how you live this life, isn't it better to love than not, and while there is plenty of life left in you to live, why not try loving more too!
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog