We love you. We love you in the way that only parents can love another human being. We love you when you are smart and obedient and respectful. We love you just as much when you are loud and obnoxious and rude.
We love you so much that we do many things for you without (too much) complaining. We do laundry, cook meals, clean the house and chauffeur you around. We pay the bills because we love you.
We love you even more than that! We've loved you through sleepless nights of illness, teething and growing pains. We've loved you through forgotten backpacks, missed buses, spats with friends and bad grades. We've loved you through disagreements about clothes or the lack thereof, curfews and class trips to Florida. (the answer is still no...in case you are wondering)
But I want you to know we love you even more than that!
We love you so much that we let you fail the tests you forget to study for. We love you enough to NOT bring your backpack for the third time when you call home in tears. We love you enough to haul you BACK TO SCHOOL when you know your adolescent world is going to end if you have to spend one more day in that AWFUL middle school that you hate so much!! We love you enough to let you pick your friends even though they aren't who we would pick for you. We love you enough to invite those friends into our house with a warm smile and a welcoming greeting. We love you so much that we don't mind embarrassing you in front of those friends when they invite you places we don't think you need to go.
We love you enough to sit through multiple concerts, swim lessons, gymnastic lessons, riding lessons, karate lessons, boy scout meetings and baseball games. Then we love you enough to tell you no when you want to add another activity to our family calendar.
We love you so much that it is okay if you are the ONLY TEENAGER without an iPhone. We love you enough to make you pay for your wireless phone service. We love you enough to buy you Wal-Mart jeans and consigned designer clothes. We love you enough to require you use your own money to buy Nike shoes and VB purses.
We love you enough to give you chores. We love you so much that instead of picking up the dirty socks, backpacks, iPods and shoes, we hold them for ransom so you will learn the importance of picking up after yourself. We love you enough to ground you when you forget to clean your room....withhold allowance when you don't walk the dog....require you to repeat a chore multiple times until you understand it isn't doing the chore that matters, but doing it well.
You not only can clean a bathroom, but you can also appreciate when someone else does it for you. You know the work involved in mowing yards, folding laundry, ironing shirts and cooking a meal. You've learned helpfulness. You understand money doesn't grow on trees and hard work pays. You know how to save a dime and celebrate the dollars that grow. You've learned to be frugal. You've struck out, fallen down, finished last, failed tests and burned dinner. You've learned determination, perseverence and a good dose of humility.
We love you so much that we choose to let you fail, let you cry, let you experience disappointment and hurt...even when we could step in and make things better. How else do you appreciate the bright moments in life if you never experience the darkness life will surely bring?
We hope as you move closer to independence that you realize we love you enough to make you sometimes not want to love us. That's okay. Someday when you are an adult and have children of your own, you will understand.
Until then, we love you.
Mom and Dad