Do you know what a pang is?
A pang, the way I use it, is a sudden burst of emotion that tells your mind, heart, and body that you love the person you just thought of soooo much and you want to hug them so tight that you can barely stand it!
Well, I am a very lucky woman in that I do have regular bouts of pangs for my children and my husband.
What do I do with a pang when it arrives?
Pangs are opportunities to show your love to your children. Right then and right there if possible.
Pangs are a bit like changing love into a verb and not just a noun. My husband and I were discussing love the other day. He said that I not only love my children, but I use love as a verb so they are shown what love feels like.
I felt the need to watch myself to see how I really do this “love in action” that my husband spoke of.
What love as an action actually looks like
- I tell my children that I love them.
So as I sit in the front seat of the car on the way to school, I might have a pang for them (usually after my third or fourth sip of coffee and traffic is moving smoothly) and say, “I hope you guys know how much I love you.” Then I pause (because they are totally not going to respond (mommy eyeroll)) and I might ask them another question, you know, just so I know they heard me and then they’ll know that I really, really love them. “Do you know that I love you? Like, do you know the for-realzy kind of love that I love you with?”
“Mm-hmm” from the back. Hah! When I get a verbal grunt, I know they heard me, which is good enough, right?
2. If my children get hurt, I immediately validate them and what they’re experiencing.
It might sound like, “Oh, baby, I’m so sorry you just ran into the mailbox while you were riding your bike. I’ll be sure to move the mailbox tomorrow, but right now we need to get you upstairs to clean your scrapes and bandage you up.” During this time of pain, crying, difficulty, rushing up to the bathroom to clean, hug, bandage, hug, etc., I say several times throughout the process, “I’m so sorry you got hurt!”
Note 1: When there is any sort of bodily injury, I put everything else on hold and I sit with them until they are not scared and not hurting anymore.
Note 2: I do not tell my children (or any children) not to cry or to shake it off or other things like that. That’s not my style and if someone is in pain, I fully believe they need to know that other people understand and want to help… cuz that gets passed on don’t ya know.
3. I get them their favorite foods and their “likes” as often as I can.
Their dad and I work hard to give our children the things they love. There is definitely some over-indulgence, which I believe is perfectly healthy with the right, loving limits and boundaries. Indulgence and gifting others really works for us.
4. I listen as much as I can.
Quick story: I always found it interesting that when Mason was in speech therapy, the parent activities were only ever five minutes. So I ask the lady when she told me to listen to anything and everything my son said for five minutes, “I only have to do this for five minutes?” And she says back to me, “The reason we only do five minutes is because that’s all most parents can handle.” Hunh.
So I listen as much as I can, and when I can’t listen any more, I wave my hand over my head and let them know my brain is full up.
5. I’m as active as I can be with my children.
I didn’t work until Michael was eleven and Mason was eight. I am so happy about this and am hugely grateful for that time.
I do work now, so I am not able to do as much with their schools as I used to, but I get there for a field trip or two during the year. When I can’t attend something and I know they might want me to go, I might say, “I’m so sorry I can’t be with you on your day trip to the zoo. I wish I could go. I’d hold your hand and we’d take pictures of our favorite animals.”
6. I listen to their stories and interests.
I mean even the ones that I’m not interested in hearing about. This is different than “listening” in general from my perspective. I think listening is a constant action we have to offer our children. This is like earning ten golden power ups when we take the five minutes we can handle and listen to their special interest. And y’all know how “focused” that can be with our kids on the spectrum. Wow.
Again, when I can’t hold one more sentence and I’m about to blow up inside of my brain, I wave a hand over my head and say, “Oh, you’ll need to finish up with one or two more sentences only because my brain simply cannot take more information. I totally want to hear what you have to say, but I’m full to the top right now.”
I’ve done this so often, I only have to wave my hand now and they know to finish up.
7. I play with my kids.
It may sound easy (or it may sound like something you never ever want to do) but I believe that playing with our children is the perfect example of love in action.
Mason loves to throw the football and run different plays. I actually really enjoy that, but I don’t thoroughly enjoy many of the other things they might want to do.
My theory and philosophy as a parent started with a very strong foundation of “I have one shot at this parenting thing. They have one life to live. I’m responsible for raising them to be happy, generous, thoughtful, kind, and helpful people.”
And to do that, they need to know and feel they are loved. We all do . . . regardless of how old we are.
As I was getting to know Michael, I remember a very clear moment when he was two years old. I looked at that child with a good long stare, and I thought to myself, “I have someone very, very special here. I need to up my game in order to help him become the person he is meant to become.”
Because when you have a two-year-old and they can have an intelligent and thoughtful conversation about death and dying, you have to up your game to make sure you help them become who they are meant to become in this world.
So my friends, you are invited to validate, listen to, share your love with, get on the floor and play with your children (or your lover, friends, family, neighbor, etc.).
Love in action is where it’s at. Love in action will help your child to become who they are meant to become for our world.
When you have a child who has gifts beyond what is normal, or needs beyond the ordinary, I believe it is a responsibility and an obligation to make the time to put your love into action.
You are loved (for realzy),
Share some love over on Facebook! I’ll see you there. 🙂