As my kids have gotten older, I have celebrated any new responsibility they can take on themselves. Do your own laundry! Clean your room! Make your lunches! Cook your dinner! So, for the last several years my kids have been needing me less and less and I have celebrate by developing a lot of new hobbies like art journaling and excessive reading and watching gay pirate romance TV shows.
But…here’s the thing…I show love by doing things for people. I’m an Acts of Service kind of person! And suddenly I found myself mute in my own love language.
I always see the manifestation of this problem with E because when/if he asks me to help him and I am overly-enthusiastically agreeable. “You need a ride to work while your car is in the shop? What about to get groceries? Or to get a haircut? Do you need me to feed your cats? Water your plants? LET ME DO ALL OF THE THINGS FOR YOU!”
Here’s the thing…in my family I always encourage everyone ask for help. That’s what your support system is there for! If you’re overwhelmed, ask for help. And being a teenager is hard with school and friends and jobs and extracurriculars! So when my kids say, “Could you make me lunch?” I want to celebrate their willingness to ask for help AND I ALSO WANT TO BE NEEDED AGAIN, DAMMIT!
It turns out maybe the, “My love language is acts of service” is also a little bit, “If you don’t need me, what is my value to you?”
Either way I now am back to making my kids lunches every day for school and I don’t hate it. They cook for themselves most nights, and that is partly because our schedules are in conflict with each other. So, it’s not a big deal if I make them lunches for school, right? Since I can’t make them dinner like in most families?
Donnie is not a fan. He gives me the look when he sees me making their lunches. The one that says, “You’re letting them take advantage of you.”
BUT I DO NOT CARE, DAMMIT. I have one adult child who doesn’t need me but periodically! I know what the future holds! They’ll both be off to college in four years! Then who will need me? NO ONE!
<insert dramatic wail here>
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make some wraps and sandwiches for the two humans in my house that are definitely capable of making their own food but I do not care.