Wednesday, October 1, 2008


The other night, my husband and I were watching TV. (For all of you who know we have recently moved and know that we have a million projects we could be working on instead of watching TV, well, we needed a break!) Strangely, we were both drawn to the Cosby show marathon on TVland.

One episode that we were watching was about Denise leaving for college. I know that I probably have seen that episode several times both as a young child and as an adult, but there was one scene that hit me so hard and really got me thinking. The strong, but loving mom, Claire Huxtable pulls her daughter aside and wishes her goodbye before she leaves for school and she says, "Denise, I am proud of you. Not because I love you, but because I like you."

Whoa. It hit my heart like a thousand arrows piercing my soul. It really affected me and made me think of my little girls and my relationship with them. I know the moment that I found out they existed that I loved them. And I know for the rest of my life no matter what, I will always love them. That is unconditional love. But to "like" them is a completely different story.

Will I like them when they make decisions in their life that I don't agree with? Will I like them when they purposefully disobey me? Will I like them when their philosophies don't mesh with mine? Will I like them if they ever hurt someone else or me? I can always love them, but liking is a pretty big deal.

Why would liking someone be harder than loving them? Loving requires forgiveness, loyalty, a deep affection and a commitment to their well-being. What does liking someone require? Perhaps it is easy to say it requires the attributes that I have listed above for loving someone, but I think liking someone is the desire to be around them and enjoy their qualities.

So my little ones are, well, little, but I can honestly say that I really do like them. Peanut is funny and easy going and makes me laugh. Jelly Bean is sweet and cuddly and makes me feel needed. That is why I like them.

And I hope it is always like this though it is hard to say what the future will bring. But I pray that I can sweetly look into my daughters' eyes one day and tell them the truth, "I am proud of you, not because I love you, but because I like you."

I believe that is the best compliment a mother can give her child.


Helene said...

As usual, a beautiful post!! I remember that same episode and thinking that was such a wonderful moment between mother and child.

Something you just wrote struck a chord with me and now I can see a whole different spin on's just a matter of seeing it in a more positive way. You mentioned that JellyBean makes you feel needed. Garrett is very needy, very clingy, very high-maintenance and I tend to get annoyed with him easily because of it. He'd be thrilled if he could stay glued to my side all day long. But after reading your comment about her making you feel needed...well, I loved that. I really need to change my attitude about Garrett and begin to appreciate his neediness. It does make me feel special when I'm the only person he wants to be with and it does feel good to be needed.

Kim said...

Every so often I'll have special moments with my older girls that are outright FUN, when we connect almost as friends, rather than mommy and daughters. They are never moments I plan--they just happen, and they're the best.

Sometimes it's just a matter of us laughing really hard at the same thing, and I realize that I'm not "pretend-laughing" at a little kid's joke, but truly SHARING in a funny moment with them. Or if we're really into a good book that I'm reading them, and nobody wants to stop because we're all interested in the story.

You're right . . . liking your kids is really cool.

Toni said...

Great post!!!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. Makes me think. There are days when it is hard to 'like' my daughter even though I adore her...and it is usually because I am in a rush and she wants me to slow down and be in the moment (not that she articulate that). Sometimes so hard to do but also so important.