I recently asked a kiddo I was working with if he could have any wish for himself, what would it be? His response? “For dad to love me.” Very powerful. If I were to approach his dad, he would likely be surprised and say something like, “Of course I love him! I tell him that I love him all the time!” I know this is true, but somewhere, there is a disconnect.
We may say it, but how we practice love is so much more important than how much we tell someone we love them. When I asked the child how he would know his dad loved him, he didn’t say his dad would say so. Instead, he described how his dad would spend time with him, would read with him, would play a game with him, would hug him, would put his arm around him and smile. He talked about how his dad would do love.
I started to watch how I do love the past couple of weeks. I do tell my girls I love them daily, and they usually roll their eyes and say, “I know mom” with an exasperated expression. What else did I do? I paid attention the first week and noticed I wasn’t doing a lot of love. Busy and stressed, I often failed to even glance up when they came running into my office to tell me something. On one particular day, I kept working on my report and gave a throw-away comment, “Oh cool.” When I realized what I had done, I looked up just in time to see Maya leave with her head down, not responding to me at all. I didn’t show love; the message I actually sent was my work was more important. So, I set the intention to do more love. I sat with them and listened to their stories at the dinner table, even long after we were done eating (instead of run away to clean the kitchen). I snuggled with them a little longer in bed (instead of run away to work on a report). I took a few minutes to sit and draw with them (instead of coming up with another reason as to why I was busy). I could see they felt loved. And you know what? They both reciprocated their love tenfold, with hugs and kisses and initiating their own proclamations of love back.
How do you do love?