Our firstborn, Kelsey, taught me about new life and parental love. Parenting her was a delight. Every day featured smiles, a good-natured response, and a sense of connection. The mystery of new life and shared parent-child love were deeply rewarding experiences.

Our second child, Lisa, taught me to love unconditionally. She was a demanding and cranky baby. I learned to love through it. And as I loved through it, Lisa taught me about her own joy. When she was happy she radiated joy like the sun. I learned to love her in the good times and in the difficult times.

Then when I thought I was an expert on love and parenting, our third child, Noah, taught me another lesson. He taught me to love in the fragile moments where life and death meet. Noah went into anaphylactic shock when he was three and almost died in my arms.  His face and throat swelled, his airway began to close, he became lethargic, and he came close to losing consciousness. That day I learned to love in the moment; I was unsure if there would be a tomorrow for us so I used the moments I had to pour all the mom-love I had into my young son. And somehow it all worked out. He survived, recovered, and is now a healthy 17-year-old boy. But he walks around, every day, with a life-threatening food allergy. It could all happen again. Me, I’ve never been the same. Since the day Noah almost died in my arms I love more deeply and more readily. I forgive. I appreciate the moments I have with those I love. And I tell the people I care about how wonderful they really are.

I have been drastically changed by love. All of my kids have played a part.

I often think that it is we who are the students, the parents. If we pay attention there is so much to learn as we raise our kids. The trick is to pay attention and to allow life and love to stretch us. It’s not easy but it’s so rewarding. Especially the love lessons; they are the most rewarding of all.

How about you? What have you learned about love from your kids?

Take a moment, now, in this month where we celebrate love, and complete the chart below. Fill in the blanks with the names of your kids. List their positive traits and then consider love. What love lessons have you learned from that child? Write it down. Then consider doing this activity as a whole family.

Celebrate love together. That’s what families are for.

Child’s Name 3 positive character traits Love lesson he/she taught you

By Amy Sluss. Amy Sluss, RN is an author and family-life specialist from Pleasanton, CA. Her mother-daughter workshops are highly acclaimed by both mothers and girls; go to her website www.fab2bfem.com to check them out. While you’re there read Amy’s blog for more on parenting and family life.