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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Unconditional Love

As defined via Wikipedia:

Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism, complete love, or "mother's/father's love." Each area of expertise has a certain way of describing unconditional love, but most will agree that it is that type of love which has no bounds and is unchanging. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers. By contrast, unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. An example of this is a parent's love for their child; no matter a test score, a life changing decision, an argument, or a strong belief, the amount of love that remains between this bond is seen as unchanging and unconditional.

So many times we throw out the word "love" and I don't doubt that we mean it. I mean I def LOVE Zaxby's. I LOVE my friends. I LOVE to travel. I understand that type of love. I "get it." The type of love, for me, that is harder to understand is unconditional love. 

I have had to learn some harsh truths and come to learn that just because someone is "supposed" to love you unconditionally doesn't mean that they are going to. Unconditional love is such a special gift. It's much deeper, much greater than the "love" word we toss around so easily. If I had never become a parent I'm not sure if I would have ever had the deep understanding of what unconditional love truly is. 

It isn't a love that you have to earn. It isn't a love that you can buy. It's not a love that you can break. It's unwavering. It's constant. It's going to be there for your entire life no matter what. Isn't that so awesome??? When we lack a source of unconditional love in our lives it is very hurtful and painful. A deep type pain, a void in our hearts that can't be filled. It's something that no one can really replace as the regular "love" can't compare to that of the unconditional form. 

I am so blessed to be a mother and to be able to provide this type of love to my children. What I lack in receiving of unconditional love I feel I make up for in pouring that type of love into them. It doesn't mean that I spoil them. It doesn't mean that I smother them. It doesn't mean that our roles are reversed and they "wear the pants" in our home. Loving them unconditionally, like the definition says, simply means that I WILL forever be a constant in their lives. Forever. 

While, yes, a mother unconditionally loving her children should be a given. It shouldn't shock anyone that I love my children in this way. And it also probably is unlikely that anyone reading this who has children is thinking that they struggle in this area. But people do. There are people who, for whatever reason, are unable to love others in an unconditional way. While it is very sad for those who aren't receiving that love, it's even more sad for those who are unable to give it.

I am not only blessing my children by loving them unconditionally, but they are also blessing me by allowing me to love them. Through my tougher times lately my love for them has grown immensely. I have blogged before about how I'm not the most natural mother and how even my undying love for my children wasn't an instant emotion when they were born. I truly grow in love with them more each day and, through my pains, I have loved them in ways I never thought possible. My love for them has not only continued to be unconditional but it is now a selfless kind of love as well. I KNOW, without a single doubt, that I will do anything for them. And I've already had to prove that by making some of the most difficult choices of my life. But I make ALL of my decisions with my CHILDREN'S best interest at heart. While such decision making is very tolling on me, I know it's best for them and it has given me a new confidence as a mother that I didn't quite have before.

I know that many parents differ in the "small things" in raising our children. Schedules, sleeping methods, feeding methods, discipline, etc. And I'm still totally passionate about why I do what I do as a mom. But I also realize now, more than I did before, that in the end ALL that matters is LOVE. If we unconditionally love our children then we will naturally do what is best for them and we shouldn't question ourselves or worry that we aren't "good enough." Because love is enough! It's always enough!

I not only have grown as a parent but also in my relationship with God. Knowing what it feels like not to have someone who you love so much (in that unconditional way) not love you in return makes me think a lot about God and how much HE loves us. His love is that unconditional love. For everyone. And think about how heartbroken HE must be all the time when those He loves that deeply choose not to love Him in return. Choose to hurt Him. Choose to turn their backs on Him. 

I know that even though I may be missing out on receiving that type of love here on Earth, that I AM receiving it from God. He loves me more than I even can fathom. I think about how much I LOVE my children and how I would do anything for them. He loves me more. I can never repay His love. I do not have to do anything to earn it. It is constant and unwavering. What a blessing it is to have that unconditional love!!!

When we are loved unconditionally, we naturally want to return that love. I think often times Christians get caught up in the "dos and don'ts" of Christianity and don't focus enough just on that relationship with God. Same with raising kids. We get caught up in the day to day stuff and don't focus enough on building a strong foundation in our bonds with them. I personally believe that the more we focus just on that love, the more our children will naturally want to obey us. Make us proud. Do what is right. Just as we will with God. When we KNOW God and truly experience His love firsthand and accept His love as ours then we will obey Him. We will walk the path of righteousness. We will take the necessary steps to salvation. 

I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. In times of trial, there is an opportunity for growth. I am so, so thankful that I am able to love my children unconditionally. They they will ALWAYS have a mother who will put their needs before my own. That they will know I will ALWAYS have their backs. Nothing will cause me to stop loving them. Nothing.  I could never, ever cause them pain or hurt. I will always protect them and do the best I can as their mother. Even though I may have some personal pain to deal with, I'm already thankful for it. I'm already able to see the blessings in this time of hardship. I see how I appreciate God's love in such a new way and how I love my children deeper than I ever thought possible. 

So love your babies. Kiss them. Hug them. Hold them tight. You can never love them too much. I want my unconditional love for my children to be a lesson to them in how to love others and for them to want to love their children someday the same way they have known love from me. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kye School Work and Report Spring 2013

I really, really love that Kye's school sends home a report at the end of each "semester" (one in Dec and one in May). As he gets older, he's less into relaying to me what he's learning in the classroom so I appreciate having these reports to know where he is at and what things to work on at home!

At the end of his Three Year Old school year here is where Kye was at:

  • He is in the progress of learning that their are 7 days in a week as well as 12 months in a year
  • He has mastered knowing that there are 4 seasons in a year and has mastered being able to describe the weather.
  • He can name all the days of the week (his report said he doesn't know Saturday but at home he talks about Saturday more than any other day)
  • He can name Jan-July in the months of the year
  • He knows the names for all of the seasons
  • He has mastered all of his colors: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, black and brown
  • He has mastered recognizing all of the following numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11. 13 and can count to 14
  • He is in progress of being able to recognize the numbers 10, 12, 14 and 15 but his teacher said he will say "zero and one, two and one, four and one"
  • He has mastered all of his shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, and heart
  • He has mastered the following upper case, lower case, and sounds of these letters: Aa, Bb, Cc (still in progress on letter sound), Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii (still in progress on letter sound), Jj, Kk (still in progress on letter sound), Ll (in progress on lower case l), Mm, Oo, Pp, Qq, Rr, Ss, Uu (still in progress on letter sound), Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy (still in progress on letter sound)
  • He is still in progress on the following letters: Dd, Nn, Tt, Zz
As yall know, for us we are more concerned with "social skills" than anything at this point in Kye's school career :) He has mastered ALL the social skills which include: listens in circle time, follows directions, takes turns, plays with other children, shows pride in work, cleans up after self, shares with others, washes hands with soap and water (WHOO HOO Goal for the Year checked off hahaaha), recognizes written name and spells name out loud.

The comments from his teacher were: Kye is such a great kid! He has done a great job in K3! I have enjoyed having him in my class. I know he will do awesome in K4! 

It was tough for me to gage how well Kye did in school this year based on what he told me and on the vibe I got from visits to his classroom. I'm glad I had this report to kinda fill in some of the gaps for me on how he did. He is SO excited for K4 next year and has been counting down to it for quite awhile. I'm SO SAD to think about him having school every day but I know he's ready and that he will love it!

Here is all of his school work from the Spring of 2013. Can you tell he is getting to that silly boy stage??? Yes, I let him make silly faces...I mean why not? ;)

And one from Sister too :)
I'm SO proud of Kye and all of his accomplishments in the classroom setting. He really loves to work hard and has enjoyed learning new things. He loves to talk alllll about letters, point out letters to us, and talk about their sounds. I'm excited as he starts down the path towards reading! He also LOVES to color and a comment was even made about his coloring progress through the year and how his Day 1 of school coloring looked better than many of the kids' last day of school coloring haha. I'm not really sure how far being good at coloring may take him in life but I guess it's a valuable skill to have ;) I'm mostly proud though of his listening skills. The times I've visited his classroom this year I've been able to sit back and observe and am so proud of how well he listens and truly stays on task. As Big Daddy says "A good listener is a good learner!" So far that's proving to be true for Kye and I hope he will always continue to be such a great listener in the future!

Can't wait to see what K4 holds for him this fall!

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