Stuffed Animal Balloons (A Belated Mother's Day Note to You)

May 08, 2022

May this note, one day after Mother's day, feel like stuffed animal balloons to you.

What do I mean?

Imperfect and full of love.

Our family tradition for birthdays is to wake the birthday girl/boy/parent up by tossing balloons on them while they're in bed.

My 5 year old daughter had a massive meltdown Saturday evening. Why? She wanted to throw balloons on me to wake me up Mother's Day morning. The issue was that we didn't have balloons in our home and it was too late to go out and get some.

She cried and cried. She needed balloons. She needed flowers. She didn't know how to spell "Happy Mother's Day" for her card.

In holding her as she cried, every now and then I'd drop in "You love me BIG and you're worried I don't know. You have so much love in your heart that you want to share with me." She'd go quiet and look at me. I'd gotten it. And as I got it, it also hurt that I got it. One of the important messages I want her to understand is that love isn't perfect. And that I don't want or need her to be perfect. All I want is for her to be her.

One of our evening rituals is for her to ask me to tuck in her covers SO tight around her. Every night I tell her I'll make it as tight as I can as I tug on her covers, AND that it won't be perfect because it's done with my love. My love isn't perfect.

And here she was, wanting to be perfect on Mother's Day.

Her little self has been processing adult amounts of anxiety and loss lately, and I held her quietly as her tears fell down her cheeks. From time to time I'd whisper "Your love is big." and "You love me so much. And I love much. Can you feel how much I love you? She'd nod. "I can feel how much you love me, too"

It hurt my heart to know this little girl was feeling like there was only one way to show her love.

The next morning, I hear her sneak into my room. Then I feel her entire collection of small stuffed animals falling down around me as she squeals "Happy Mother's Day!!"

From a parent to a parent, let me tell you that stuffed animal balloons are way better than balloons. And she came up with this idea on her own after she processed some of her emotions with me.

Love isn't perfect. Love is so much more.

Love is staying awake with your sick child all night long.

Love is putting a band-aid on a bruise because it makes it feel better.

Love is overcooked lasagna.

Love is not listening to your child when they tell you about their day and THEN you saying "whoops, I wasn't with you. Can you please say that again because I do want to know?"

Love is the repair.

Love is you not being able to have a cat because you're allergic, so you and your kids ooooh and ahhhhh over cat pictures, books, stickers, stuffed animals, movies, and just about anything cat.

Love is missing the mark and trying again.

Love is helping your child put their backpack on.

Love is making a game of them putting the backpack on themselves.

Love is holding a boundary around the putting on of the backpack because you know it's what is needed.

Love is resillient.

Love is the tears, then giggles, that sometimes come with ice cream soup.

Love isn't perfect.

Love is so much more.