Different Ways to Express Love

Posted By on August 13, 2012

After traveling for two days in the car, my children and I picked up my mom in Seattle. We went to a beach and biked on a family bike in the morning. In the afternoon, she wanted to go shopping at Macy’s. It would not have been my first choice, but it was also my mothers trip, so why not do something she wanted to do? We spent at least an hour in the children’s department and some half hour walking around. She bought my children several summer outfits and a very snappy three piece suit, after a very convincing plea from my youngest.

What gave me the undeniable sign that it was time to leave were my children laying lifelessly on the carpet floor. My mother made a remark about how my children were uncivilized.

My initial reaction was defensiveness. How dare you judge my children! They’re here shopping because they want to spend time with you, they don’t care about the clothes, they have enough clothes. They would much rather run around at the park, eat sushi or get a splinter removed from their foot.

I held my tongue because I didn’t want to argue. I reminded myself that my mom parents and communicates differently than I do, and she was probably just disappointed they were not as enthusiastic as she was on the second hour of shopping. I asked my children politely to get off the floor, and that we were leaving.

That night, she did bring us to eat sushi. My children love eating it and she loves watching my children eat.

There are many ways people express love. Like a foreign language, sometimes it takes a little time and patience to decipher.

When I moved out of my home, I realized my dad’s incessant and rather predictable inquiry of “Have you eaten rice yet?” at every phone call, actually meant “I love you.” It completely changed my connection with him. My dad never said “I love you”, but he would ask if I’ve eaten all the time when I was growing up. Healing the past can happen at every turn in life it seems.

My mother buys clothes to express her love. My husband gives me shoulder rubs and says things like, “Can I pop your pimple?”

And I learned to say, “Thank you, I love you too.”

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.


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