love is…

After dinner last night and when all the dishes were loaded in the dishwasher, I asked the Fantastik4 to come back to the dinning room table and have a seat. Like most of us, when somebody says they want to talk your mind starts racing through all of the recent events attempting to determine what happened? Why do we need to sit down? I’m sure they were wondering, is this was another lecture or were we going to play a game?

It was actually neither. I decided at the last minute that I wanted to talk about love. I wanted to know what love meant to them. As I reflect on our conversation I wonder why we don’t openly share what love looks like or feels like to us. It’s different for everybody. But instead of being forthright, we want people to guess. We would not go to a restaurant and expect the waiter to guess what we want for our meal. We don’t expect an employer to guess what job or salary we want. We don’t expect a car dealership to guess which car we want. Most of us typically have a good idea of what we want even if we are open to some suggestions. Why aren’t we the same way with love.

I understand we may not know. But if we put some thought into it then we will figure it out and help the people who love us the most to love us better. I have read and really do like The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. That’s a great guide. But if we ask and we tell, think of how much deeper the understanding will become.

When I asked the Fan4 what love looks like to them, this is what they said:
Provide, protect, trusting and believing
Take care of and care for
Protect and take chances for (this interprets into willingness to sacrifice)
Kindness and respect

All of their responses touched me. I took a moment to think about their personalities and reactions in different situations. Now I understand some things a lot better.

The stud muffin, the baby of the bunch, is the one who said to him love means to take care of and care for. I had a breakthrough with those few and very simple words. I have a better understanding of how to parent and relate to him. He is the child who seems easily frazzled and frustrated. We have often asked ourselves, what wrong with him? Now I get it. This morning was a prime example of how I missed an opportunity to love him they way he wants to be loved. He had a field trip permission form that required a signature and a form to order a special t-shirt  for Field Day. Well, in all honesty, I glanced at both forms and did not pay close attention to the due dates. I received a call from a very frustrated little guy this morning. He started the conversation with, I can’t participate in field day because you didn’t fill out my form and I don’t get a t-shirt because I don’t have $5.00. Flashback to the night before. I didn’t take care of him. I apologized profusely and asked to speak to the teenager. I explained my mistake and asked him to fill out the forms and give the stud muffin change for $10 I had given him for lunch. The crisis was diverted and this time, an unhappy kid did not get on the bus with his heart broken. I have made a promise to myself to pay more attention. I love him. I want him to see it in his way. I want to take care of things that are important to him that we agree will occur.

Today was not my best mommy day. Little Dude need a certain sized tri-fold science project board. I bought the wrong size last night during my late night run to the store. Love to him is kindness and respect. Because I bought a board, I got a pass. But he set the expectations and gave me time frames to have the board to him today. I couldn’t do it but I promised to make it happen and with the help of my super nephew, he received his board. Whew!

Let’s think about this love thing. How easy is it to communicate what love looks like to you? Do you ever ask what love looks like to the people you are loving? You may be surprised. Ask at least one person what love looks like to them. Then ask yourself. I believe we can take our relationships to the next level of love if we take time to ask and listen.

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