Not ever did I question my parents’ love for me, but as far as I can remember we did not hug or kiss much. That is, not till my husband and I emigrated, when seeing each other again became so precious; how could you not embrace? I cannot say I actually missed it; that was just not us.
My husband was more demonstrative and I had to get used to that. Not that I did not enjoy his affection, we have after all nine children, but it was not one of my so called love languages. I think my love language is ‘intimate conversations’. How I treasure those countless discussions my Dad and I had about anything that came up; no topic was ever off limits.
That is probably also the reason why I did not do a lot of babysitting as a teenager. Babies were little people I only enjoyed from a distance; I did not understand their wordless language. Thankfully, and this has amazed me tremendously, I loved our children from the moment we found out we were expecting, and I intuitively knew how to care for them. But I would have liked to speed up the time till they finally could talk and express themselves, so we could really connect. Baby-talk was only uttered by babies in our home, and since there were no Baby Einstein or other of such DVDs yet, our kids soon learned to speak in sentences in a normal tone of voice.
Since we talked a lot, and read a lot of books together, I slowly and unconsciously tapered off with hugs and kisses. Till one day, our third child, a very outspoken eleven year old girl, came to me and said, “Mom, you never hug me anymore.” Ouch, I did not know how to respond and in a panic went to my husband. “What do I do?” His answer was plain and simple: ”Start hugging.” So I did.
At first it felt kind of weird, but it became easier, one hug at a time. And surprisingly enough, the kids loved it, even the teenagers. And now it is normal and wonderful. Even among themselves the children are now more affectionate; it’s great to see our grown up sons embracing when they meet after not having seen each other for a while.
I do believe that demonstrating our love and affection with hugs and kisses coupled with openness and real transparency makes the bond between parents and children stronger, and harder to break. It’s difficult to be distant when you are close—literally.
After all, the love of God to His children comes to us primarily through His Word, but not just with words. He sent His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to show us His love in flesh and blood. He not only told us the parable of the loving Father and the prodigal son, He lived it.
So keep hugging your children, or, if you are like me, start hugging, even when they look at you funny at first. Eventually they will get used to it. And that’s a good thing.
But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:20
Posted by Elina