Love is done

My step-dad and I are two completely different creatures. I don’t know why that is, exactly, but it’s never been a secret that our perspectives couldn’t be more different. He’s quiet. I’m… not. He’s a picker (as in, will pick on you to be funny, not his nose). I’m… not. He’s conservative. I’m…. not.

This is Mia, but, she looks just like me....

I thought for a long time that he didn’t love me. That’s not a bad thing on him; it’s more a comment on my kiddie understanding of what love entailed. See, he’s not one to profess his love aloud. I’ve seen him sign cards to my mom with love, but I didn’t hear it from him growing up. I thought not hearing the words “I love you” meant he didn’t love me.

As it happens, I was wrong. He’s been my step-dad since I was a toddler, 15 months old. He married a lady with a baby and raised me like I was his own. That’s what love does.

 He made sure we had a safe place to live, food to eat, and when he was laid off from his job and my mom found work, he stayed home with me. He overcame his nausea to change diapers and sat for hours reading me stories. That’s what love does.

I can remember that after my bath, I would scramble into my nightgown and run into my parents’ room, so that he could spend the next 10 minutes carefully blowdrying my hair that reached down past my waist. That’s what love does.

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers – Malachi 4:6

 

When I got married, he agreed to drive us to the hotel in his 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, a beauty of chrome and seafoam green. I got in the car, fluffy white dress rising around me. and for the first time that day, I think, I cried, not because the wedding was over, but because he had a song, playing on a loop. Not exactly a father-daughter song, but the sentiment, that I was a special gift to him, showed he loved me. That’s what love does.

Love is done. It is performed in multiple ways over the course of a lifetime. True love compels us to act our love. My step-dad loves me, and it shows in what he’s done. I love him, too.

*James Taylor on April 22… Think about it, Dad 😉

How do you show love to your children? How do you DO Love?

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17 responses to “Love is done

  1. Growing up, I was showered in attention. Love was a word seldom heard, as I recall. And I felt loved. With my own child, I try to give him my attention AND tell him how much I love him. I don’t ever want there to be any doubt. I pray that I am doing just enough, not too little and not too much.

  2. this made me smile and cry, Kristin. it’s a lovely tribute.

  3. This is really touching. I do my best to show Ethan that he’s loved. That being said, we him a gerbil last night. He named her Katie.

  4. Oh man…you did it. You finally made me cry. There is nothing more complicated or necessary than the love between a father and a daughter. My dad and I are different in a lot of the same ways you and your step-dad are. I felt the same way about my dad. For a long time I didn’t think he loved me or thought much about me, but over the last few years I’ve realized that sometimes love looks different than what I thought it would. Love checks your tires, oil, washer fluid, etc every time you come home to make sure your car is safe. Love worries about you being alone in a big city. These days my relationship with my dad is better and I know he loves me. I know that one day when I have kids, I am going to make sure that there is no doubt that I love them. I’ll hear this all the time…”ahhh mom!” as they wipes my kisses off their face. 🙂

    • It’s also amazing to watch that guy who never spoke the words “I love you” get all googoo for the grandkids. He’s putty with them.

      Thanks for writing that, Katie. You’re a treasure.

    • Katie…I like how you said “love checks your tires, oil, washer fluid , etc.” That is so sweet. I have no idea what we would do without my Dad to help us out and he is always willing to help with my boys, too. Sounds like your dad will be a great Grandpa too when it’s his time! 🙂

  5. We all show love in different ways, but for me it’s all about quality time and words, words, words! I always want those I love to know how much I love them, what it is I love about them, and how they make me feel. I also think it’s really important to show love to your loved ones, especially your children, in ways that they know that they are loved. I have to speak love to them in a way that is special to them.

    • I think knowing what type of affirmation our friends and family need is really important. I know that for my oldest, time spent with just her is the most important. We have “girl days.” With my youngest, it’s hugs and kisses and cuddles. So, I spend time just holding her and dropping kisses on her forehead and cheeks.

  6. Touching post, thanks for sharing!

    I feel that I love by serving other people. Makes me remember that it’s not about me.

    With my children, I feel I overemphasize “I love you” and “Daddy loves you”, so that if they don’t remember anything else, they will remember that. 🙂

  7. Good post!
    One way I try to love people is by telling them the truth.
    Also with service.
    Also with encouragement and good, good words.
    I love my children in so many ways, but here are some that are coming to mind right now: by recognizing who they are as individuals, and who they belong to (hint -it’s not me) and shaping their daily lives with those two things in mind; by giving them lots of practice in forgiveness by apologizing when I do something wrong as a parent; by doing my best to display my love to their Daddy; by inviting them to work alongside me in our home and in our church.

    • I really like the inviting them to work with you in your home and church. I’m guilty of expecting my children to be too young or incapable of doing the work of the church, but I need to start giving them jobs to do.

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