Remember holding that baby in your arms? There was no choice but to be connected. The needs were demanding...but simple.
As a child grows, staying connected gets increasingly more difficult. Another child enters the picture. Work, household chores, school, church, sports, all encroach on that precious time together.
Connecting takes some thought. It is an expression of who you are individually and as a family. This topic is so close to my heart particularly now as I see my twelve year old slowly moving into her own world. She doesn't share everything with me anymore. I miss the little girl that talked 24 hours a day about every little thing she thought.
I just try to be where she is. Hang out with her. I tell her about things I remember from being 12. Boys, friends, music, dancing, going to the roller rink. I try to say yes as often as I can...so my no's will mean something. I ask her opinion on things. She is dependable, inclusive, a fabulous student, a great athlete, and incredibly diverse in her interests. The other day I spent just a couple of minutes telling her, "It's normal for you to want your space, to have private thoughts and experiences. Just know that you are a super important part of my life. I always want to be an important part of yours too. Whenever you need me...I'll happily be there!"
First thing every morning I wake Ben and tell him that my day won't be great until I get his magic hug. Luckily he still enthusiastically gives it to me. His smile lights up my heart...something I often tell him too. Sometimes I tease him that if I was in 4th grade I would stare at him from across the room and think about how dreamy he is. I whisper in his ear how I love having an amazing helper. My "go to kid" when it comes to getting something done.
I tell them about their positive traits. Ben has a soft heart, loving, honest, a good friend, funny, a terrific athlete, and extremely generous.
Andy is 6 so he still needs tons of cuddles. Loving him means watching all of the amazing things that he does moment by moment. Connecting with him means understanding how creative he is and affirming that his love for color, texture, art, and beauty in the world...makes him just as much a boy as his sport loving brother. He still needs me to help him with things which also makes time with him more of a natural expression of my day.
In the evenings we have dinner together at the table. We always ask each other about the day. Often we cuddle on the couch and watch something everyone likes. That's when the holding hands, snuggling under blankets, and laughter fills the house.
At bedtime each child gets tucked in with their own special prayer. My arms surround them as I whisper in their ear. It is part of our private time. They tell me if there is something specific they have concerns about. I pray with them so that they can hear my hearts desire to raise them with Godly wisdom. To be the mom each of them needs. And some expression of how thankful I am that God gave me this job to do. The finale is the lotion I put on their arms and pillow. Sometimes lavender, sometimes vanilla...often it is what I wore during the day. A little bit of mom that stays with them as they fall asleep.
Sometimes we take them alone out on a date. There have been father & daughter dances. Mom and son walks. But, it's the day to day that I think holds the most impact. Finding one of them walking through the house and stealing them away to our bedroom where my husband and I lay on the bed and tell them all of the amazing qualities they have, and why we love them so.
My hope is that the seeds of love that have been planted in each of them grows into a beautiful garden that they will one day share with their spouses and children. There is so much that I get wrong everyday...writing this helps me put life in perspective and remember why this is such a treasured time to embrace.
So, maybe this could be a "comment discussion" about the meaningful ways you show love in your family. I'm always looking for new ideas. Please share...
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