"I hope you know I love you."

A hot June day, someone else’s kitchen, making dinner for someone else’s kids. 

The two little girls crawled onto the counter toward the hot ceramic stove and my daughter Mary picked them both up and put them on the floor. She did this over and over. 

And over and over they said, “We don’t like you; you’re mean.”

Mary didn’t care. She could take the abuse because she did not want those adorable little girls to get burned. 

When it came time to put them to bed, they didn’t want to put on their pajamas; they didn’t want to brush their teeth. “We don’t like you,” the little girls said, “you’re mean.“

As she tucked those tiny girls in bed, she said to each one, “I hope you know I love you. “ 

 “We don’t.” they replied.

My daughter shrugs it off because she knows kids are scared and often sad and they need someone who loves them even when they’re grumpy and not listening. “It’s all I want.” Mary tells me. 

As parents it’s our job to pull our teens away from the hot things, to teach them hygiene and chores and all the things. 

And it’s also our job to love them even when they’re grumpy and sad and really not listening.