Kids say the darnedest things, but there’s not a mother on Earth who wants to hear her son or daughter profess they’ve fallen out of love with the one who gave them life.
It’s not a good feeling y’all. I know, because my son said these words to me.
If you know me in real life, you know that 2015 was a year from hell for our family. Every family has a year or a season of wilderness and dark valley, 2015 just happened to be one for us. We had a house fire and spent seven months in seven different hotels or apartments while our house was renovated. I was pregnant for those entire seven months and delivered my fourth child a few weeks after moving back home. During that time my husband started a new job, we had a car accident, our one year old broke his leg and spent the summer in a full leg cast, my husband experienced some significant health issues, and then the Devil took the gloves off and started attacking our marriage, precisely when we were at the breaking point of stress and overwhelm.
Our daughter Grace’s name is not an accident or coincidence. St. Paul’s teaching on grace and Saint Therese’ reminder that everything is grace is why I’m here to type these words today.
EVERYTHING is grace.
I tell you this background story to set the stage for a few months later, when I had a newborn daughter with a lot of nursing issues, digestive issues, and full blown colic.My husband and I barely slept those first few months of trying to soothe her and figure out how to remedy her health issues. It was during this bleary eyed time that my second son, a newly minted four year old, came up to me one morning and declared “Mommy, I don’t love you anymore.”
I stood there with my now cold cup of half drunk coffee and stared in disbelief. This was my MOST loving son, physically and verbally. This kid gave a thousand hugs and squeezes a day, lit up like a Christmas tree when you told him you loved him, and to this day will always win the “I love you MORE” spar “To Alpha Centauri and back, then to Heaven, then around the Sun sixteen trillion times, then back to Alpha Centauri times infinity and beyond.” (Trust me, he always wins).
My son’s words were a wake-up call that in the midst of a really really hard time in the adulting department, my husband and I had become distracted in giving love to our middle child in a way that he understood and could receive it.
While his words destroyed me, I am so so grateful my son spoke up about his feelings. It smacked me upside the head with the reality that his needs were not being met, his love tank was not being filled, and I was not communicating my love to him in the words of his love language. He needed time alone with mommy, words thoughtfully and directly spoken to him by mommy, and just a heck of a lot of bear hugs and bedtime snuggles.
Not long after I learned this lesson with my son, Catholic author and conference producer Tami Kiser asked me to speak on the topic “Relationships with Your Children” for her Catholic Conference 4 Moms. She graciously allowed me to post the video talk here so that I can share in more detail how learning my children’s love languages has helped me cultivate a relationship with my very little ones.
Today, Tami’s 2018 free online conference for moms begins. There’s still time for you to sign up here and hear all the presentations. This year’s topic is “Pass it On: Equipping Kids for a Lifetime of Faith.” I can’t wait to listen.
Have you had a child feel unloved because you weren’t speaking his love language to him? How did you recognize it? How did you work to heal his heart and start again? I’d love to hear in the comments.