LOVE: Choosing to give someone your time and friendship, no matter what.

In a few days, my family is headed on 14 hour road trip. We’ll pack up the car with snacks, “goodie bags” filled with books and games for the kids, and lots and lots of music for me. Because I’m the music-fanatic in our house, I’m the designated DJ for these trips. Today, while we were all relaxing on the beach, I began making the playlist—one of my most enjoyable, downtime activities.

While I’m in the middle of this, my seven-year-old daughter comes up to me:

“Dad, Liam doesn’t want to bury me in the sand.”

I say, “Did you ask Addi or Taye to bury you in the sand?”

“No, I want LIAM!” And then she laid there in sand pouting with her eyes closed.

I looked at my iPhone. I looked at Elli.

I looked at my playlist. I looked at Elli, and got down off my beach chair.

She didn’t notice that I had kneeled beside her, but as soon as she felt the sand start to cover her legs, she grinned the biggest smile I’d seen all day.

In that moment, I can only imagine that Elli felt loved.

I know this may seem silly. This is a no brainer; I should leave my playlist-making to play in the sand with my daughter. But maybe you don’t understand how much I LOVE making playlists. It’s perhaps as much as you love playing golf or sewing or reading or whatever you choose over time with your family.

This month we’re learning to choose to give someone our time and attention no matter what. It’s easy to give people time and attention when it’s planned and convenient.

But then we add that phrase, “no matter what,” and it gets all complicated.

But no matter how much I’m enjoying what I’m doing, showing love to my daughter is more important.

When we show our kids love…

No matter how inconvenient—(being woken up at 3 a.m. because she had a bad dream when all you need is sleep.)

No matter how trivial—(reading the book to them that you’ve already read 100 times.)

No matter how messy—(helping clean up the spilled cereal before jetting off to work in the morning.)

… we not only show them that we love them, but we also help them learn how to show love to others in return.

This month, what would it look like if we took those words seriously, “no matter what?”

What would happen if we choose to love even when it is the last thing on our minds?

I have a feeling that the whole tone of our home would change. Perhaps, we’d even see more smiles like the one I saw today on the beach.