The other day, I did the splits when stepping on my son’s sweatshirt. It should probably be noted that I’ve never done the splits before, so I might have mentioned in a slightly unloving way that he needed to pick his stuff up. Then we had a friend over for dinner, and my sweet, gorgeous daughter reached over my friend and grabbed the drumstick off the chicken and put it on her plate. I was horrified.
I’m really tired of lecturing them though. So I’m going to approach it differently. Maybe their poor housekeeping and manners is an extension of love. I give to you five odd ways that kids express their love for you:
- The stall tactics at bedtime. Max and Lucy zone out and move extra slow at the mention of bedtime. They linger in the hallways staring at the walls or have a sudden need to pet the dog. Perhaps they’ve just realized (every night) that the day is over, and they spent a lot of it playing video games or playing with their friends. It’s their way of saying, “But wait, I wanted to hang out with you—I just had 47 other things on my to-do list.” They don’t want their day with you to end. It’s kind of sweet, really. I’m going to try to remember that tonight at bedtime.
- “Tuck me in.” This one went on for a long time at our house. To the point where us jerks-for-parents would say things like, “I already tucked you in—go to sleep!” Maybe that’s what’s comforting to them—to see your face right before drifting off to dreamland. Whatever the case, one day they’ll stop asking. And it’ll hurt way more than it inconvenienced you when they were asking to tuck them in.
- Leaving shoes, socks, and sweatshirts on the floor. How do they just walk out of their shoes mid-stride like that? Maybe they’re doing it because they feel so secure and comfortable in the home you’ve created. Okay, this one is a stretch, and my kids should find a way to just directly express their love for me—or someone is going to get hurt with this expression of love.
- Grabbing at food like wild savages before you pray or say “go!” If you’re like me, there’s not enough food in the house that could qualify as being enough…ever. You made the meal for them with love. Consider them eating it with such vigor as the reciprocation of love.
- They ask for tiger time or tickle time. Our kids both loathe being tickled. But they see the joy it brings us to all interact in some chaotic dog pile/giggly torture. Tiger time is when our kids ride around on our backs, and we crawl around on all fours. I’m not sure why they picked, of all four-legged creatures, tigers. But who cares. Sadly, the kids are too big to do tiger time any more. But it’s the precision and inside family name when the kids’ request it that shows their love.
So there are five very indirect, slightly far-fetched ways that kids say they love us. I hope this month when we’re celebrating one day of love, we can stop and see the every day love. It’s gotta be in there somewhere.