I have three children – still getting used to that. Of course I love them all so dearly but I love them differently. Each child is an individual, different from one another, interpreting and interacting with the world uniquely.
Baron is creative. Sensitive and tender. A raised voice causes him to crumble, a gentle touch is worth its weight in gold to my little artist. Give him paper, glue, and a scissors and he has entered his own world of make believe and imagination. Some sort of costume is always a part of his attire. Sitting next to me on the couch right now he is adorned in a cape complete with a skull and crossbones across the back. One day he might wake up and insist that we call him Pirate Captain Baron. The next day he is the Lone Ranger. Everyday he is my sweet boy, stopping everything to give his sister a snuggle and randomly interjecting an “I love you mom.” I melt.
To love Baron is to spend one-on-one time with him. He longs for my undivided attention, not wanting to share that time with anyone. Chocolate is also the way to this boy’s heart.
Roman is active. He never. stops. moving. He is a tornado, destroying nearly everything that gets in his way. Then suddenly he’ll stop, grab his blanket, and demand a snuggle. Ever joyful and excited, he never ceases to make me smile. He is independent and determined. When a 24 piece puzzle wasn’t enough, I graduated him to 60 piece, then 100 and now we’re working on 200. He is determined, disciplined and doesn’t understand no.
To love Roman is to wrestle with him. To throw him up into the air and tackle him to the ground. When the match is over, grab his blanket and snuggle up on the couch – he loves that.
Sister baby Ivy is the princess of the house. All activity stops when Ivy is awake. Her brothers dote on her, offering up toys and kisses. She takes it all in and returns the favor with an unending supply of smiles. She doesn’t want to miss out on anything even if it means giving up sleep.
To love Ivy is to give her attention. Snuggle her, hold her, kiss her and look deep into her chocolate-brown eyes. None of which is hard to do.
During this Valentine season I am reminded to love each one of my children as the individual they are. To listen to their needs, stop fretting over the laundry that needs folding, or dreaming of the book I’d rather be reading, or thinking about all the things I need to accomplish once they are in bed and I finally get a quiet moment. My job is to love them and to do so effectively which is to know them and speak love to them the way they will best hear it. My job is to also seek their forgiveness when I have failed to love them in the way I should – this happens often.
For a special time together Baron and I made some “stained glass hearts”. On a clean sheet of waxed paper we scattered crayon shavings evenly around (we used a pencil sharpener to create the shavings). Place another sheet of waxed paper on top and two pieces on craft paper to sandwich the wax paper and crayon shavings. On low heat, iron the pages until the shavings melt and blend into one another. Let cool for a couple minutes then cut into hearts.
We taped ours onto thread and hung them in the window to allow the sunlight to pour through them. You can also use them as a base to write out sweet messages using a black Sharpie.
As we sharpened, ironed, cut and hung his face was beaming and his heart was full. He felt loved.
The more I choose to effectively love my children as individuals the deeper my love and understanding for who they are grows. I fall deeper in love with them – if that’s even possible.