From the archives of my password-protected personal blogs:
You may or may not be familiar with Gary Chapman’s love language books. If you are not and you are a parent, I highly recommend them to you. I currently refer to The 5 Love Languages of Teens: The Secret to Loving Teenagers Effectively given that our son is now a teenager. At the time I wrote this post, he was a 7-year-old, so I was referring to The 5 Love Languages of Children.
Disclaimer: these are my personal recommendations. I am not an affiliate of Amazon at this point in time, so I make nothing off of your purchase of these items. I would ask that you consider ordering through smile.amazon.com and select your favorite charity so a portion of your money goes to it.
On with the post…
‘Tonight, our son was sitting on the counter watching as I added the cold water to a batch of BLUE jello. After I put the jello in the refrigerator, I hugged my little man. He wrapped his legs around my waist, I lifted him off the counter and whirled him around in my arms just like I used to do when he was younger before my heart failed.
I must confess I did not want to put him down for in THAT moment he was four years old again.
You see, I put him down on 12/10/2007 not once thinking that 16 months would pass and my heart would die before I would be able to do pick him up and whirl him again.
Scooping him up, nestling into his neck, showering him with kisses, joying in his giggle, whirling around in circles was the stuff our days were made of, lifted hugs were an every day, many times a day kind of thing for us.
It was our normal before my heart failure and transplant which meant life had been very different after the transplant. Life-threatening illnesses are jagged little pills as they threaten more than just our lives; they threaten the dynamics, the routines, the capacities of those we treasure most.
He was FOUR-years-old, a babe in arms when I placed his feet on the ground that day.
He was my little bundle of snips and snails, and puppy dog tails.
He was my firstborn, only born, the flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.
He was the one I was told I would never carry within.
He is the one who now carries the only remnant of my heart.
He carries my heart.
My heart pumps lifeblood through him.
My heart works for his good, God’s glory.
My heart is not lost.
My heart remains standing fast in him.
I give thanks that we have been restored to our every day many times a day hugs.
A round of HUGS, everyone, but NO KISSES as our now 7-year-old son would say.”
Addendum: Well, our 7-year-old is now 16, and I am learning a different dialect of his primary love languages; it’s a progess not perfection process with lots of grace on both sides.
How do you know what your teenagers love language is? Ask them how they know that you love them. It’s that simple!
Here’s his response:
1) You hug me.
2) You listen to me and you hear me.
3) You encourage me.
Love languages don’t change rather the dialect with which you speak them changes. Our son’s love languages are quality time, physical touch, and words of affirmation.
Our every day many times a day kind of hugs have NOT stopped just because he is now a teenager. I strive to hug him at least 5 times a day though never in front of his friends; we use the “I love you” sign when friends are present. However, he never leaves the house without an “I love you” nor does he hesitate to say “I love you” at the end of a phone conversation, even when his friends are around. He understands that life is fragile, and he learned that at a very, very young age.