I was standing in my friend’s kitchen when I noticed a glass fish on the shelf behind me. It was large enough to grab my attention, and a lovely shade of blue. But what really caught my eye was the white sticker, created with a label maker, displayed across its middle. The label said, “remember, I love you.” I spotted another label on a photo of her with her husband, smiling at the camera on their wedding day. It read, “B loves S.”
We chatted as her crew of small blonde children ran about the house with my beautiful brown boys – energy overflowing the space. And as we talked, I thought about those stickers.
On Monday I wrote about The Magical Cord of Love and constancy. You all left amazing suggestions of ways we can help our children feel connected to us in our absence – figuratively, when we are giving attention to another child, and literally when we are parted. The vast majority of the suggestions were visual cues that would remind a child in a glance that they are loved and they belong.
My friend with the blue fish is a child from a hard place. Yes, she is an adult – a wife and mother – but the wounds of her early years have not miraculously evaporated. Those notes in her kitchen? Her husband put them there so that even when they are parted, she will have visual cues that remind her that she is loved, and she belongs.
I asked her about the notes, and she replied with a long email, pouring out her heart about her struggles to be the woman she wants to be. She gave me permission to share it with you – today I want to share one excerpt. Imagine these words coming from our children.
i have wondered from time to time if my heart might be wearing out for the pain i feel in my chest day after day my whole life…meanwhile, and all the while, he loves me. takes care of me ie: new clothes(always with a pair of amazing boots), food i want to eat, a house i am comfortable in and can ‘work’ in well, the vehicle of my choosing right down to the color, hair cuts, unlimited gas money, a kiss EVERY time he leaves the house, gifts, flowers, doesn’t let anything important around the house remain broken for more than a day or two (that’s not an exaggeration), lets me call him as many times a day as i need or want to, i could go on…i adore my husband, and most of the time i am quite convinced that he doesn’t love me.
She went on to write about the ways they are working to bring healing to her heart and mind. She told me that when she reads my blog, she doesn’t read it from the mind of a mother, but as the child from the “hard place.”
I thank my friend for letting me have a glimpse into my children. As an adult who is striving to heal, she can put words to feelings and experiences my children cannot.
I am reminded that I am easily caught up in wanting my children to heal simply to eliminate disruptive and challenging behavior. But we need to take a long view – we want our children to heal not only so they will form healthy attachments to us, but to lay a foundation allowing them to form healthy attachments to future spouses, their children, and other people who love them. Above all, I want my children’s hearts to be attached to Jesus Christ – to fully trust Him, allowing the healing only He can bring to mend their brokenness.
I’m holding on to this thought today.
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