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Implied love vs. spoken love

I think I’m a bit of a hard core person. I “love” people and I say “Love you” a lot, but tonight I realized something about myself that I kind of knew…but didn’t really “know”.

In August, I acquired my nephew for the year. He was born and raised in Norway and is now 17. He’s awesome. When he was born, he had heart issues. “Aortic Stenosis”. You will have to look it up for a specific definition, but suffice it to say, my sister missed my wedding because her son was in critical care. We lived life on pins and needles for a while not knowing where his status would be. Thankfully, the doctors realized he would be fine under regular care and constant observation.

Fast forward about 18 months….

Shortly after my wedding, I became pregnant. I was so excited, being the 4th out of 5 children, I was all but forgotten in the bevy of grandchildren provided my parents. Nonetheless, I couldn’t wait to deliver “yet another” grandchild to my parents. Only, shortly after my announcement, we realized my dad was found to have pancreatic cancer. Basically, a short-termed death sentence. Within months, my dad passed away. I was 5 months pregnant at the time, and completely devastated that my dad wouldn’t live to see my daughters birth.

In the aftermath of my fathers death, I was in the kitchen of my parents house, talking on the phone to someone, no doubt crying my tears of sadness and anger. And off in the distance, I felt a presence – something burning into the side of my head. Being in a state of disconnect, I was a bit irritated at the disturbance, when I finally looked over and saw the most precious sight…. somehow, my nephew (who was born with a heart defect) had climbed up on a barstool chair (all of 18 months old) all by himself, and was holding on to the edges with his hands, while staring at me with the biggest scrunchy-faced smile you have ever seen in your life. I couldn’t see his eyes for the smile. I burst out laughing and crying at the same time!

I don’t know how or when he got up there, nor do I know how long he sat there with that smile on his face. All I know is, it was EXACTLY what I needed at THAT moment in my life, when I felt SO lost and SO alone…..
From that day on…he was my “Scrunchy face”.

Fast forward 16 years…..

Scrunchy face now lives with us.

For this year, he has chosen to live in America. His heart is fine, he had a valve transplant, that according to him, “it will outlive me”. He’s active, runs, works out and is just about as smart as my dad was (although dad will haunt me if I say ‘smarter’). He has social graces, sense of humor, curiosity in life and is driven! He’s simply amazing.

I’m thrilled he is staying with us. My sister has 5 children and all are super amazing beyond belief!

When they are across the border, I ogle and love on every one of my sisters children. When they visit, I’m over the moon. They are all so precious to me!
But now that one is living with me, I noticed the dynamic has changed.

……and I find it interesting…….

I’m learning a lot since Kai has moved here. I’ve learned things about him, and I have learned things about myself. I see things in my family that I didn’t notice before. It’s quite the amazing journey.

I’m realizing how I communicate and what’s important to me. I’m realizing how my choices affect my outcome. I’m realizing how little I embellish my love on my kids…….

It’s kind of awkward…….

When I was a kid, I was really “cute”. Not trying to be cocky, just explaining what I knew of my life. I was complimented a lot….only I came with flaws…. I was adorable, but maybe not a twig….. This affected how people complimented me. More often than not, it was a “backhanded compliment”. Basically, it sucked.

“She’s be so pretty if she just lost weight”……

…..let’s just leave it at that…….

I don’t want to call that a “scar” in my life, but it DID shape the way that I see the world. We are entirely too superficial in our estimations of people.

That said, as I raise two girls, I rarely compliment my kids on their superficial beauty. I tend to spend more compliments on their character.

What does this have to do with anything? …well, let me tell you…….

Since Scrunchy Face has come to live with us, I realize that I embellish on him less as he lives here, than I did when he visited. Our dynamic has changed, and our perspectives have changed.

We now see how we live day to day. He’s probably less enthralled with me, now that he has to report to me. And I’m less “complimentary” to him now that he’s my “rent a son”.

I realized that I don’t say as much as I think. I’m afraid to taint my kids with what I think, and I don’t want to fill them with the possibilities that my compliments will carry them to the next level of life.
I realized that I’m communicative, but not ‘soft’. I’m fearful, and my comments come through in my texts. And I realized that I love these kids so much that if anything happened to any one of them, I would systematically shut down and die….if not in body, than in spirit.

Since Kai has been hear I have realized that I give more love to my friends than my family. I speak more love to those in passing than those I live with. I’m kinder to the passer-by than my husband. And I know I’m not alone in this.

Our families deserve to have “those” moments with us. They are the ones on the battlefields of life and deserve the extra slice of pie that we made by hand. Yet most of us are so quick to hand it off to the stranger on the street.

I know this is a long blog, but I find life an interesting journey. We duck and weave and bounce and fall and get back up and start all over again. But my hope is that, as we go into this holiday season, I hope we realize where our hearts lie and we actually give to those who are most deserving of our love and time.

Don’t get caught up in the superficial. Get caught up in the here and now. Love those who deserve it the most. Hug those who are most in need, and don’t overlook the smallest compliment or kindness.

I’m so thankful for my little scrunchy face for reminding me of what’s important.

Wishing you a most happy holidays!!!