Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Loving and Being Loved

"being knit together in love"
Colossians 2:2

I forgot my nephew's birthday.

That's him, visiting NYC

Well, I didn't really forget.  But to him it would seem like it, because I didn't send him a card.

a very contemplative 7 year old...

I'm pretty good at remembering people's birthdays, but not very good at remembering them.  Well, I mean, I'm pretty good at remembering people's birthdays, but not very good at acknowledging them.

And the thing is, I'm crazy about my nephew.  He's 8 years old, funny, spunky, and smart-as-a-whip.  He's also brave-as-a-lion, bright-as-a-button, and busy-as-a-bee.  Oh, and cute-as-the-dickens.

See?  Brave.  You wouldn't catch me hugging that thing...

I was a mom before either of my sisters were, so when I saw how much they loved my kids, I thought it was because my kids are just so darn lovable.  But when I became an aunt, I realized that being an aunt (presumably like being a grandparent) is the next best thing to being a mom.  I couldn't believe the love I instantly had for my nephew, and the grip he still has on me, 8 years later.

This was several years ago ~ one of my favorite pics in the world.  My nephew tackle-hugging my son.

My sister and her family live in a different state, so we only see them a few times a year.  When we do, we swim in my parents' pool, play games, watch movies, and maybe take a day trip to a museum or the beach.  And I love hanging out with them.  I love getting to know my nephew and seeing how he's changed from the last visit; what he's learned and what his new passions are (dinosaurs, dragons, or birds who are inexplicably angry with someone...)


He's a bright boy; truly intellectually stimulating for someone his age.  He loves it when I joke with him, and he gives me a funny little sideways grin that tells me he's on to me.  And when he gets frustrated or loses his temper for some reason, he's always so sincere about being sorry afterwards.  He learns from his mistakes and to me, there's nothing more beautiful than someone learning.


But does he know how much I love him?  Does an 8 year old know?  There's lots of ways to show to a person that you love them, but that doesn't mean we all pick up on them.   I never read that book on love languages, but I know enough to know that there are different ways of showing love.   But does my nephew know that?  Cuz I'm guessing he never read the book, either.

If receiving a birthday card is how my nephew recognizes love, then I'm probably a disappointment to him.  If he recognizes the way I interact with him, and how glad I am to see him, then I don't need to worry.  

And I have to remind myself that this goes the other way, too.  There are people in my life who love me, that I sometimes wish would love me in a different way.  My way.   But I don't get to choose. 

My two kids are very different in how they show love.  One loves to snuggle, to hug and be hugged.  The other one likes their space.  I recognize that they both love me, and I know how blessed I am to be loved by two such Amazing and Awesome kids.  But if I were judging on physical affection alone, it would be a different matter.  To not see love where love exists is to miss out on blessings.  

They say love is blind.  But sometimes it's we who are blind to love.

~ "Let all that you do be done with love" ~
1 Corinthians 16:14

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