“Don’t cry, mommy. I love you. I love you!” My three year old son was consoling me after I had lost the very last ounce of my patience waiting at the urgent care for two hours to no avail. I was sick with a sinus infection and needed some relief. Thankfully it finally came, but first in the form of some loving words from my son.
They don’t look alike, but I have started to notice that my son and my husband have begun to share some marked similarities in the way they love me. Before having children, I never could have imagined that the love I receive from my son and my daughter would so strongly imitate the love I receive from my husband. But the likeness between their gestures of love is unmistakable.
I would like to think that the reason for this similarity is that it has been learned, that they see a love worth imitating in our marriage.
My husband and I don’t hide our loving relationship from our children. When Daddy is at work all day, I talk about my love for him throughout the day. When my husband comes home, we make sure that we sit next to each other at the dinner table and enjoy some adult conversation—even if minimal at times—with the explanation to our children that “Mommy and Daddy missed each other all day, and we’d like to spend some time together.” We also try to reserve important or more stressful conversations for when our children are asleep. We want our kids to know love from experiencing it from us and witnessing it in us.
I grew up with that kind of example too. My dad often referred to my mom as his girlfriend—and still does. I witnessed my mom and dad dancing in the living room, going on regular date nights, and they always welcomed each other with a warm hug and kiss. But their lesson in love went even deeper. I grew up knowing that I was a product of their love, but also fully and truly a part of that love. Since my parents were committed to that love for life—their love for me also felt unbreakable.
The love I experienced from my family has empowered me to build this love in my family as well. So when my head is throbbing with a prolonged sinus infection, all I need is the love of my marriage, channeled through my husband and my children. It can take many forms, but it is the same love, and it is truly healing.