the way she needs to be loved

Katie and I are sitting on the bench outside the ice cream shop, greedily devouring our ice creams. We’ve asked Brooke to join us, but she refused, instead doing exactly what she always does when we come here – pacing the sidewalk and periodically finding comfort in the tight entryway of the shop next door.

Katie’s not happy.

When I ask why the long face, she says, “Cause I just want to hang out with my sister.”

I tell her that’s very sweet, then point out that she IS hanging out with her sister.

“No, Mama, she says, I want to REALLY hang out with her. Like ya know, over HERE, all together. I just want to love her, ya know.”

I put my arm around her and squeeze, wondering how it is that such a huge heart can inhabit such a small person. And then I tell her the very hardest lesson that her Mama’s had to learn. “Katie,” I say, “we’ve talked about this before. Sometimes the greatest gift that we can give to those we love is to love them in the way that they need to be loved, rather than in the way that we may feel like we need to love them. Right now, showing our love for Brooke means respecting the fact that she’s doing what makes her happy and being here with her while she does it. Does that make sense?”

She nods, then says something. But not to me – to her sister. “Hey Brooke, do you want to come over here with me and Mama or stay over there?”

Brooke answers in her signature sing-song, “Well, I would do whatever I want.”

Katie smiles back at her. “OK, Brooke,Β as long as you’re happy there, but come over if you want OK?”

She looks at me, “I wasn’t trying to pressure her, Mama, I promise. I just wanted to make sure that she knew that we wanted her here and she has the choice.”

I smile at my girl. “And that,” I tell her, “is the best kind of lovin’ there is.”


26 thoughts on “the way she needs to be loved

  1. what a beautiful, loving, little girl you have. I have a girl that is also big hearted and cares for people with all that she is. Keegan on the other hand only talks of his brother in negative black and white and I know that it’s his autism that makes it this way. I hope that someday he can love his brother the way he needs to be loved too. Thank you so much for sharing this, Jess! hugs to you if you want them and big hugs to your wonderful girls

  2. Katie always “gets it”! She has always gotten it–even as a little one. Yes, she packs a gigantic heart in that small body.

    Love you,

  3. Katie is a good sister. I have no doubt that Brooke knows she loves her and wants to hang out with her. Those girls are connected in ways we can only begin to imagine. xo

    • Yes…and I truly believe in time Katie and Brooke will connect in the way Katie yearns to connect. I’ve seen it happen with my two guys.

  4. I know I’ve said it before, I think ONE of the reasons your posts speak to me is because of the strong similarities between Emma and Katie and Lily and Brooke, and their relationships with each other.


  5. You must have stock in mascara. I cry just reading about your wise girl, I cannot imagine how much I would cry if I was ln your shoes. She is wise beyond her years. You are doing a gOod job mama.

  6. What a sweet girl! It can be such a difficult lesson to learn, and to figure that out at 11, well, that puts her a step ahead. You must be proud of your girls…

  7. Pingback: Learning How to Love « LearnLoveLiveLaugh's Blog

  8. Once again,
    Oak trees and acorns for both good and bad. With her it’s always more of the good, or should I say “BEST”.
    Love you,

  9. Katie is phenomenal. I’ve known that from what you’ve written about her for years. She is wise and kind beyond her years. Seriously. Spending some time with her the other week, I completely fell in love with her. She is wonderful. So wonderful. You are raising a great kid. (Well, two of them, but you know what I mean.)

  10. Hahaha, I love your kids!! If only we all had the personal freedom and expression that Brooke has, what a spirit… I’d love to use that “I would do whatever I want” line sometimes myself πŸ˜›

    Katie is such a sweet little sage – she’s going to do such big things. πŸ™‚

  11. Wow, thank you for sharing that moment. Thank you for this reminder. I end up reminding myself of this again and again and again…

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