We Argue a Lot but I Still Love You

2 Nov

Miss Thirteen


I have never read the book on love languages. I know that it was good for many, but I just can’t make myself read it. I’m pretty sure my love language isn’t in the book. Last week at the suggestion of a friend I thought I’d take the test online. That test just stressed me. I kept clicking and unclicking for every question, so much so that I gave up. I didn’t give up on  love language, but trying to identify mine.

I don’t want to focus on me anyway. I have five kids, a husband and a myriad of friends I like to focus on. One time I focused on my face in one of those microscopic mirrors they have in hotel washrooms, the kind with the bright light that reveals every.single.flaw. Not a good idea. Holy schmoly, I totally get why botox is so popular.

So I’ve been focusing on a certain love language of Miss Thirteen-year-old Daughter. She is beautiful. Jet black hair that she washes first thing in the morning smells like shampoo and soap. One adorable dimple in her left cheek tempts me all the time to kiss it. You see, we argue. And then we both sort of pull back. It seems that even in her sleep she turns her face away from me. That’s the hard part. When she is awake, my hugs are met with a sort of smiley-grimace and my arms are allowed to hold on but never more than a few seconds. She shrugs me away. At bedtime I tuck her in and she rushes me out with a matter-of-fact ‘that’s enough.’

We were having a talk, and I fully believe that being authentic gains respect with teens. I told her one day that it can sometimes feel like she doesn’t love me. She insisted that she does. In my head I said ‘whew’ and wiped my brow. In reality I said I believed her but asked if she might see why it didn’t feel like it.

Love language.

How easy it would be to let us drift like that. But I know that I know that I know that kids need affection from their moms. I was determined that she would never grow up and go off to college and sit on dorm room floors among pajama-clad freshmen and add her sad stories of , “Oh you think that’s bad, well my mom stopped hugging me when I was 13! Thirteen~!!”

I prayed. It was one of those this-feels-just-out-of-my-reach pleas for ‘help’. Then it came. The Whisper of Wisdom. The Whisper suggested that maybe -just maybe- affection is not necessarily a hug for Miss Thirteen. Enter Love Languages. Of course! That’s it… gifts. Nothing softens my Miss Thirteen more than a gift. She loves getting things. Brand new things.

So I went to find her a meaningful little gift. She loves to wear my earrings. I have old earrings that belonged to my mom and to my grandma. I let her borrow them until… she lost the pair of earrings that I wore on my wedding day. I liked it that she wanted to borrow something of mine. I didn’t like it that she didn’t seem to care about their value.

Well, I found her a little pair of earrings that look like something a grandma would have worn, which means vintage and vintage is cool. They have a delicate little heart surrounded by tiny rhinestones. When I gave them to her I explained how the little hearts were to remind her how much I love her. And I said that instead of hugging me she could put her earrings on. “When ever you see your earrings you will know I love you. And whenever you wear your earrings I will know you are saying ‘I love you, Mom’ “.

She wore the earrings for three days! Sometimes she has them on. Sometimes not. That’s okay because it wouldn’t mean much if she just kept them in and slept in them all the time. Today as I type this, the little earrings are on the ledge of my desk. It makes me sad. She had them in her ears when she came downstairs this morning. We had an argument before she left for school. Have I mentioned that we argue? When I got her and her sister into the car and saw them head off to school, I came and sat down at my desk. That’s when I saw those little earrings on the shelf. If I had emoticons on this blog I would insert the face with the tears squirting out the eyes.

So I am praying again to the Wisdom Whisperer…

1: I like it when you give me notes of affirmation.
I like it when you hug me.
2: I like to spend one-on-one time with you.
I feel loved when you give practical help to me.
3: I like it when you give me gifts.
I like taking long walks with you.
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4 Responses to “We Argue a Lot but I Still Love You”

  1. Susan N. January 7, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Patricia, you are a treasure. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts; this (and many other of your blog posts) is so beautifully written. I have a daughter, 15yo.

    My mom, who passed away in 2006, kept a diary/journal. As I read the words she had written over the years, I found a quote about motherhood, and what she must have felt many times in her relationship with my sister and I: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” ~Elizabeth Stone

    • Patricia DeWit January 8, 2012 at 1:45 am #

      That’s a powerful quote. Last night I re-read this post to my daughter who is now Miss 14. She asked, ‘will you write another one now, you know, since it’s not like that anymore?’We think a new post is in order.

      • Susan N. January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

        I will look forward to reading the sequel :-)

        I can relate to the way of progress in this mother-daughter dance. I think the years between 12-14 were the hardest for my daughter and I. We still have our (rarer) moments of conflict that doesn’t work out as perfectly as I’d like. But she (and I) have grown up so much in the past few years.


      • Patricia DeWit January 9, 2012 at 5:08 am #

        I used to joke that my daughter could be 13 and she could be wonderful, but mostly she was 13. But she’s gotten older and I’ve aged and we’re both learning…

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