My friend Amy wrote a sweet reflection of the love of a young son as he darts off to school:
Good news, Amy! Teenage boys still say "I love you, Mama." They don't shout it out, and sometimes they use different words. If I've learned anything in the twenty-four months I have been a mother of a teenager, it's that a little translation is required to keep the lines of communication humming.I am absolutely relishing in the complete warmth of this moment. This boy who is eight and in the second grade will be a sophomore in high school in the blink of an eye and I'm guessing, even though I'm hoping beyond all hope for this to be untrue, that boys at that age don't shout out, "I love you Mama!" anywhere ... at any time.
One recent morning found me screening my calls. When Caller I.D. alerted me that the kids' school was on the other end of the line, I quickly picked up.
It was Tim.
"Mom," he told me in his urgent voice, "Could you bring (fill in the blank with forgotten item). And while you're coming anyway, could you pick me up a Baconator?"
Adolescent boys speak a unique love language and it's called Food. Tim is fluent in a dialect called Bacon. He also speaks Electronics and is conversant in Cold, Hard Cash.
John, a boy ahead of his time, speaks Meat. From the time he could first form a complete sentence, "I want ma meat!" was a line we regularly heard at the dinner hour. The other night, in an earnest attempt to compliment me on my cooking, John declared with great gusto, "The grease makes this meat really good, Mama!"
Translation: I know you love me best!
I went at it with a nameless one of my progeny this morning. This boy -- this child of my heart, this kid I love more than I can say, more than I can say -- was in rare form and, sadly, so was his mother.
My idea of a good start to the day is full of simple prayers and hot coffee, cheerful Good Mornings and maybe an I Love You, Mama or two. And we have those mornings. And nearly every morning is like that for some kids. But really life being what it is and challenging personalities (my own included) being what they are and with late nights crammed with homework and early morning piano lessons and the list goes on, we have bad mornings, too. Mornings punctuated with tense words and stomping feet. Mornings short on kindness and long on frustration.
Today was one of those days.
My boy darted off into school (mostly to avoid the tardy bell which has ramifications for older students). He didn't yell, "I love you, Mama," but I know he does. And long about noon time today, I just might show up in the courtyard of the school with a Mocha Frappuccino or a Baconator in hand. Last time I did this, Tim threw his arms around me and yelled, "You're the best!" Loud enough for God and his friends to hear.
I know his love language, and it's important to speak it.