The hotel lobby was a warm, welcoming place. It looked more spacious than it really was because of elegant pillars that stretched from floor to high ceiling. Each pillar, encased in glass panels, reflected the images of a small girl twirling in a saucy red skirt. The child danced happily from pillar to pillar, ponytail flying. Each time she saw her reflection, she was delighted anew. From time to time, the child stopped moving long enough to kiss her face in the mirror and declare, "I love you, I do!"
The child's mother rested nearby on a padded bench. With each kiss, mom echoed her little girl's words. "I love you, too. I do!" she said. In that moment, I found myself loving both of them, and I didn't even know them. I loved the child's innocent joy in who she was. I loved the mother for not restraining the joy of her child.
Watching them reminded me of a favorite children's story, Koala Lou by the extraordinary author, Mem Fox. Listen to Mem read her story about a mother koala who tells her little one a hundred times a day, "Koala Lou, I do love you." Until, that is, brothers and sisters are born. Mother is too busy to say the words. Koala Lou is sure if she wins the gum tree climbing event in the Bush Olympics, her mother will love her again. Alas, Koala Lou comes in second. She hides her sorrow in the dark of night where mother finds her and declares, "Oh, Koala Lou, I do love you! I always have and I always will!"
Koala Lou, like the child dancing among the glass pillars, is your child. She is every child everywhere, waiting to hear the words, "Oh, I love you. I do!"
A Colorful Thought: A child does not earn your love by being good. She has it by being born.