Jean Goddard

The boys and I visited my mom in Florida this weekend, and while making guacamole, I suddenly remembered something she used to say…

When we were kids, she used to regularly tell us (at bedtime, in the car, whenever, really): “There’s nothing you could ever do or say that would make me not love you.” She would bring it up in conversation, or just say it out of the blue.

Sometimes she would elaborate and add, “I would never be grossed out by anything” (I’m guessing she brought this up around first-period time), or “Even if you robbed a bank, you could always come to me, and we would figure it out.” It’s funny because she was pretty strict about everyday things — table manners, grades, curfews — but when it came to revealing our larger fears/worries/dreams, she was always a safe place.

She said it so often that my sister and I would roll our eyes. We were like, duh, Mom, WE KNOW.

But now that I’m an adult with children of my own, I realize how lucky we were to feel that sentiment so deeply, and what an incredible parenting gesture it was on her part. We ended up feeling comfortable telling or asking her about anything — first kisses, school anxieties, birth control, the list goes on.

I’d love to start saying this to my boys, so hopefully they’ll see me as an ally as they get older and their lives and worries get more complicated. It’s funny how even a single sentence can sometimes be so powerful, don’t you think?

Do you ever say things like this to your children? Do you remember any sayings or advice you parents told you? I’d love to hear…

P.S. Trying out slow parenting, and home as a haven.