Excerpt from The Mommy Diaries
A Two-Way Street
By Laura Broadwater
My youngest son and I were on our way home from running errands one day, when he suddenly leaned over and placed his head against my shoulder. I glanced down at him. He seemed to be doing it a lot lately and it worried me. This behavior was unusual for him. Having an older brother, one who thought being the oldest came with the inherent rights of “boss and bully,” he usually expended much energy acting tough and standing his ground. But we were alone and I figured that maybe he thought it was safe to let down his guard. Still, careful not to make him feel like a baby, I playfully asked, “What ‘ya doing?”
Curious by such an odd response I asked, “What are you getting?”
“Love,” he replied.
“Oh,” I smiled, nodding my head. And for the rest of the ride home, he remained in that position.
The next time we were out driving and he did it, I casually asked, “Are you needing some love?” His answer surprised me.
“No mom, I’m giving it.” Shocked, I drove on in silence, pondering the wisdom of his word — and the simple fact that I might need love, too. I was so used to giving love to those around me who were in need of it, I’d never thought about receiving it myself. Not even from God.
This practice continued on between us for years. After a while, though, I stopped asking whether he was “getting” or “giving.” The mere action itself served as a reminder of the need for balance in my life when it came to the giving and receiving of love.
With much regret, the day finally came when we had to abandon this practice. He just got too big (even when scrunched down) to lean his head on my shoulder. Still, regardless of how tall or grown up he gets, I won’t forget the lesson he taught me while out driving down those country roads. Loving someone is meant to be a two-way street.