The Gift of My Son’s Love Language
Written by Meghan Moravcik Walbert
Ryan was just two years old that day. I was navigating my car through the grocery store parking lot as he softly roared in the backseat, a plastic dinosaur grasped in each hand. His little voice floated up to me: “Mommy, Auntie Kelly bought me my velociraptor!”
Did she? I really had to think about it. With upwards of 100 plastic dinosaurs spread throughout our home, it’s easy to forget where each one originated. But after a few moments, the memory rose to the top. That’s right, she did. She put it in a little gift bag and he opened it in our kitchen — several months ago.
After quizzing Ryan, I soon discovered the velociraptor wasn’t the exception; it was the rule. Ryan also knew that Uncle Dave bought him the large brown T-Rex from the zoo. He knew that the smaller green T-Rex came from Grandma’s house. And he knew I bought him the large Stegosaurus from the dollar aisle at Target – and that it was the last one on the shelf.
This gift-memory of his isn’t limited exclusively to dinosaurs. By the time he turned four years old, he could rattle off a list of gifts that Santa brought him a full year earlier – some of which I’d long since forgotten about.
We’ve all heard of the five love languages, right? I’m pretty sure Ryan’s love language is “gifts.”
Give my son a gift, and he is bound to forever remember you for it. On occasion if he can’t recall who bought him something, he asks me. He wants to be reminded so he can keep track. These gifts, these people are important to him.
Honestly, I can relate. Although it is somewhat embarrassing to admit as a grown, mature(ish) woman, I’m a big fan of gifts. It is one of my main love languages as well. It’s not that I want or need big, expensive gifts but when someone thinks about me and puts that thought into a tangible gift, it makes my heart sing.
That gift need not be big or fancy, just thoughtful. Like the time my niece drew me a rainbow on a green note card to hang on the refrigerator in our new home. It’s still there, a year and a half later; she’ll probably be in college before I take it down.
The thing about people who receive love through gifts is that this is often how we give love, too. We love to give as much as we love to get. We try to be thoughtful, attentive and purposeful with our gifts. We want our gifts to show how well we know the people we love.
Ryan doesn’t just remember what people give him – he can tell you what others want, too. He knows that of all the dinosaurs he owns, I favor the purple brachiosaurus. At least a few times a week, he exclaims that he has a “special surprise” for me hidden behind his back. It’s almost always the purple brachiosaurus.
He picks me flowers. He chooses a stuffed animal for me to snuggle with at night. He helps me select my jewelry every morning and pretends each piece is a gift from him.
For him, I pick pine cones. I take him to the Dollar Store for giant balloons. I buy his favorite chocolate-dipped cookie from the grocery store and leave it for him to discover on his car seat after preschool.
I think we have many years of meaningful gift-giving ahead of us. I’ll be the one wrapping and hiding the coveted gift in the corner, A Christmas Story-style, and he’ll present me with mugs that proclaim I’m the “World’s Best Mom,” which I will use until the rim is chipped and all the letters have worn off.
We will continue to show our love for each other, he and I, the most heart-felt way we know how — by speaking to each other through our shared love language.
About the Author: Meghan Moravcik Walbert is a freelance writer, wife and stay-at-home mom to a spirited little boy. Her writing has been featured in a variety of publications and websites, including Mamalode and BlogHer. She blogs at PhaseThreeOfLife.com and has been known to frequent Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.