I didn’t grow up with my parents beside me all the time. My Mom and (step)Dad lived in Japan. My Papa (bio dad) lived in the North end of the province and we didn’t maintain regular communication until I became a teenager. My mom called regularly and asked how things were, how school was, etc. It was the usual “check in” although it sometimes felt more of a “check up”. But was I loved? I really do believe that. In their own love language, my parents loved me. They gave me everything I needed. And as long as I was behaved and earned good grades, I even got way more than what I needed.
Hubby grew up with his parents and siblings beside him. They didn’t have much so his parents had to work a lot. Him and his siblings were usually left to entertain themselves. But as a family, they went on tons of road trips – fishing, and hiking. Nature was their getaway. He also speaks highly of homecooked meals Mom used to make for all of them. He didn’t like that they were not rich. But he fondly and greatly appreciates his parents for the life they had. Their love language was providing for the family and finding ways to make time spent together matter.
If you asked Hubby, he will tell you that he isn’t touchy-feely towards his children. He cringes sometimes when Oliver kisses him too many times. He tells him, “Stop it Pa-Pa. You know I don’t like anyone kissing me this much. Only your Mom!”. But from my perspective – he is a very touchy-feely dad! He may not like too much kisses but he hugs the children a lot. He wrestles and plays with them. To this day – at 10 and about 60 lbs. – Aiden still jumps on his back and climb to sit on his shoulders. He is also not short on saying “I love you”. And, if he had only $20 left, he would spend it on their knick-knacks rather than get something for himself. Hubby’s love language is ensuring the kids are safe, happy, and content. He is firm and will discipline the kids. But he is quick to forgive and will fight to protect them at all cost. He hurts the most when his kids are hurt. He is the happiest when he hears his kids laugh.
My first love language is providing for my family. I will work as many jobs as I need to just so my children can have everything they need and want. I want “no’s” to things they ask for as an optional way to teach them life lessons and not as my only option. While I work a lot, I have also learned that the quality of time I spend with my children is just as important as being able to provide for them. I like to cuddle with the kids. I am never short on hugs, kisses, and saying “I love you.”. I will play pretend, ninja, tickles, hide and seek, and whatever game we come up with randomly. I am the happiest when my children are happy and content. Nothing fills my heart more than hearing them laughing, giggling, being silly, and showing affection. It assures me that our home – their home – is a safe place for them to just be kids.
Aiden is very limited verbally. But – his actions are way louder than words could probably ever tell. I could be lying on the couch or bed and he’ll come over and just cuddle. He will take our hand and prompt us to give him a hug. He prompts for tickles and wrestles. When his brother is in trouble, he will come rushing from wherever he is and gets mad at us for scolding his brother. He will share his toys and treats and oblige his brother’s requests. Randomly, he’ll come by and give us kisses. He even sometimes puts his favorite things in my purse for me to take to work. I cannot tell you how many times Thomas the Train and Percy have come to work with me. Aiden’s love language is indulging our requests and displaying affection. I really think he is happiest when our family is calm, content, and happy.
Oliver is very expressive. Out of nowhere, he will just blurt, “I love you Mom”, “I love you Dad”, or “I love you Aiden”. He will leave random love notes for us. He helps Hubby and I a lot in taking care of Aiden. He fixes the bed for him and his brother. He willingly picks up after all the messes even if his brother made nearly all of them. He is also very quick to forgive our shortcomings as parents. He is my shopping and dining out buddy. He is his dad’s video game buddy. He is Aiden’s teacher, playmate, helper, and advocate rolled into one. Oliver’s love language is understanding every single member of our family and loving and accepting us for who we are. He says he is happiest during “family times” and when he is getting “family hugs”.
We were all in the living room last night. On the sofa – Oliver was on his table cuddled under Hubby’s arms while Hubby was watching a TV show. On the loveseat – I was on my phone watching YouTube videos while Aiden had his legs on my lap as he laid down playing a game on his tablet and eating the pizza Hubby made for him. Hubby said, “This is how I want us to always be. Always wanting to be beside each other.”. I could not agree more.
As an Autism family, life has thrown us some challenges. It’s not always easy. But with all of our love languages, we truly are, happiest just being around each other.
What’s your family’s love language? Always remember that language is a learned skill. Our children learn their love language primarily from the environment we provide them. Let’s show them how it’s done!