All you need is love
All you need is love
Scott Dunlop
Love is hard to express. Just look at all of the cards spouting out sentiments ranging from cuteness to passion. Poets have wrestled with it like it’s a crocodile covered in grease. So have parents.

Whether your current status says you’re in a relationship, separated, divorced, single or, that most challenging and perhaps most truthful, “it’s complicated”, you can find the perfect place to stash your love, if you’re a parent.

Did the Beatles get it right? In part, yes, but the love of a parent comes with certain disclaimers: Sure, all you need is love, but that love is layered in patience, strength, courage, resilience, fearlessness and a very, very thick skin.

Still, no matter how your romantic life is doing, you’re the only one lucky enough to whisper in your child’s ear, as his breathing slows and he drifts to sleep, “I love you”.

One of my biggest fears is that there may come a time when, as teens, my kids may withdraw their spoken affections. At the moment their love ranges from wild abandon (from my daughter), to hunch-shouldered shyness (from 12-year-old James), but they still tell me, and I tell them all the time.

Even though your children may not express it, almost all parents will confess to loving their them unconditionally. When they’re particularly naughty, you’ll tell your friends about it in exasperation, and you’ll probably add “but I love them” at the end. Because that’s what we do.

My Mum, when I was very little, would make me Valentine’s Day cards, and I enjoyed getting them. They made me feel loved. I’ll do the same for my kids, only, I won’t sign them “anonymous”. I’ll tell them, for as long as I have breath, that I’ll always love them.

There are cynics who’ll tell you that Valentine’s Day is all about commercialism - chocolate, hearts and a chubby, winged toddler sporting a bow and arrow (clearly, his parents ignored advice about dangerous objects) - but, even if you haven’t found The One just yet, you can take the opportunity to tell your child, “I love you.”

My own status? To borrow and warp the lyrics of a song “I’ve found love in a hopeful place”.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.

Do you spend Valentine’s Day trying to find a babysitter, out with friends or at home with your family? Tell us about your plans and you could win a R250 voucher.

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