When my oldest son was a baby, he wanted to be held or near you all of the time. It wasn’t in a colicy way, he just genuinely enjoyed being near me. As he got older I thought for sure his main love language was physical touch and based on his infant and toddler behavior I should have been right. But as he got older, I noticed his behavior fine tuning into different directions and come to find out, after taking this love languages test with him last summer, it’s really quality time. If you think about it, it makes sense: how can you spend quality time with a baby without holding them? Have you ever done the “Love Languages” test with your kids? If not, you can find it here. If you have children who can’t take the test themselves, you can ask them the questions and select the answers for them.
My husband and I try to do one on one things with our boys as much as we can. The boys usually want the one on one with dad because he takes them to do cool things like tour the hardware store or go on a wilderness adventure, my offer usually involves just food.
A few weeks ago we were trying to explain to our 5 year just exactly what Valentine’s Day is (which by the way, isn’t very easy). We talked about love, making valentine’s cards and dates and at the end Jackson asked if he and I could go on a date together. Melt my heart. Of course we could. But, I told him we’d have to go on a Saturday since Valentine’s Day was on a thursday this year and didn’t give it much after thought. This was sometime at the end of January. Fast forward to the Saturday before Valentine’s Day and I woke up to a smiling 5 year old boy at my bedside, dressed in a button down and jeans, excited and ready at 755 am. “I’m excited about our date today Mama! I want to go to houlihans for lunch and then I want to go to Target and look around as much as I want, without having to leave until we are finished. And I picked out a shirt for you and some perfume.”
I tried to close my eyes and just breathe it all in. This moment with my precious child where he is so excited to spend a morning with me. I know it won’t last forever even if I wish it would. You see, he thrives on this quality time. It does something to him, he comes out of his shell, laughs deeper than he normally does, sees life on a different level than any regular day. It’s a joy to watch. I’m blessed to be his mama. So, I got ready and we went to a local thrift store to look at books and then to Houlihan’s where he was treated like a king by the waiter.
He was brought several things on the house including a giant brownie sundae at the end of our meal. Last May we gave up processed foods but every now and again (birthdays and very special occasions) we let the boys have a free day, this was one of those days. I was so proud of him though, he took about two bites of the dessert and said, “Oooh, that’s sweet. I’m full.” We headed to Target, looked to our hearts content and then joined our other two back at home. It was a pretty perfect day.
I look back at this sweet baby picture and can’t believe I have a child that will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Before I know it he will be maturing into a young man and these treasured moments where I have so much control and influence on his life will be a distant memory. Am I making the most of it now? I feel like I fail every day at making the most of it. Do you have the gift of guilt like I do? Once the boys go to bed, I got back in after they have fallen asleep and pray over them. I am usually bombarded with moments in my day where I should have been more patient, given more grace, played with them more, etc. It’s never enough, I’m never enough. I love my boys so much sometimes it’s hard to catch my breath if I think about it too long. God has graciously shown me recently that in the areas that I fail, in the moments I fall short, He shows up. Every failure from us as their parents is a giant arrow toward their need for a perfect Savior. I love this song by Shane and Shane, “The One you need.” It’s so perfectly written. As Christian parents, we can relish in the date days, the moments when we get all of our ducks in a row and we rock it out as parents. But on those days we fall short, aren’t we so thankful we all have a perfect Savior we can point our children to? Because, quite honestly, He’s always been everything to me, too.
“But there’s the One and if you’ll just believe
He’ll be your hero like He’s always been for me
Darling, Jesus is the one you need.“