“He's a boy, it's normal. Get over it.” said I to myself a few months back when I was bothered by the fact that Quinn, my 11 year old, wouldn't be affectionate with me. Eli, no problem, goo and kisses abound with that kid. Gabe, he's always down for some good night cuddlin'. And I shouldn't have to tell you that Cherish and the little boys are all over me for hugs and kisses. Not Quinn....he acted like it pained his left toe just to give me a hug. So I tortured him with it when he was being rude to his siblings. (Moohahaha) Still, I'm bugged. Add to this that he absolutely adores and honors his dad yet gives me the “Oh, it's just you.” treatment....I'm starting to get a bit crushed. So I prayed, cried, prayed, cried out, and prayed to God for an answer.
The answer came in phases.... Phase 1..... I told Quinn how I felt....how he was making me feel and he promptly kissed and hugged me every night before bed. Wow, well if I'd known it were gonna be that easy....sheez, silly complicated woman.
Phase 2....I began praising him more and more. You see, Quinn's like his dad, got his head in the clouds a good bit of the time, which can be a bit frustrating to a grounded girl like me. But I've learned to appreciate this unique quality having been married to Mr. Clouds for well over a decade now. :) A practical example, I can tell Quinn two things to do, and he'll do ½ of one of them. Like, “Hey Quinn, go change out the laundry and then take out the trash.” He'll promptly say, “Yes, ma'am.” Go do what he's told. BUT, I'll find him sitting on his duff with the trash un-emptied and no new load of laundry going. What the? This is when I would previously get red. I chew him up about attentiveness, thoroughness and blah blah blah. What's that? Condemnation? Criticism? Right. Who likes that? Anyone? Anyone? Right. That's right, we all hate it, cuz as soon as someone tells us how worthless we are or what a bad job we're doing at _____ we just want to jump right up and do better, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. So I quit that nasty habit and searched for reasons to praise and there were soooo many! Ahhhh!!! I was literally breathing new life into this kid. Praise Jesus!!
Phase 3....We have been focusing on gentlemanly conduct around here. We're teaching the boys to protect and cherish the females in their life. The result is phenomenal! They are jumping to open and hold doors for me. Quinn wouldn't even let me carry a little bag of cans the other day when we were collecting some from the side of the road. I feel like a queen and they feel like “the man” as I shower them with praises and kisses. Now I randomly get a squeeze and a kiss from Quinn complete with a satisfied love grunt. How glorious is that?!?!?!?!?
As the icing on the cake, several days ago was my birthday (March 22 to be exact, it's okay, you can mark your calendar for next year). The kids made me feel immensely special as they often do, but particularly touching to me were these notes written by one 11 year old whose left toe no longer hurts.
“Many kids have moms, many kids have good moms, BUT WE HAVE THE BEST MOM!!!”
“I am glad to have a mom...one who makes my meals one that never yells at me and now she's 33. Happy Birthday I <3>and my favorite...
“When you were born, your parents never knew you would be the best mom ever!!!! Happy Birthday! From Quinn”
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Prov 18:21)