I love my eldest son with all my heart, but he’s not exactly a “mama’s boy”. That kid loves his Daddy tremendously and I am so glad he does. However, I would be lying if I said our relationship is exactly as I imagined it would be when he was born. At four years old, he is past the days where a simple cuddle or tickle fest pulled him to my heart. Now, the path to his heart is lined with Zelda pendants. I am now a Zelda Mom.
The other day, I asked Trey how I can better show him love. I had no expectations on what he would say, I was genuinely curious. It went something like this:
“Well Mommy, Daddy is very, very, very deep in my heart because he knows a lot about Zelda and I want you to know a lot about Zelda so you can be very, very, very deep in my heart. Right now, you’re in my heart, but you’re not very, very, very deep in my heart because you don’t know very much about Zelda.”
Perhaps it might make another mom weep to hear she is “not very, very, very deep” in her son’s heart, but this was not the first time he has told me this which is exactly why I laughed. Duh! He’s only told me every detail of this video game, bounded around the house with every new skill he has learned, showed me all the cool magic tricks and has actually completed the game. He has spelled it out for me in every way. I should have known that the key to his heart lay in a remote control.
I’m not a Zelda girl. I am a Mario lady all the way. Give me a linear game with a clear target and I am good to go. A game with a map where you have to speak with every single character to figure out where to go? Ugh. We are playing on the old PlayStation console, so essentially, this is the game I wasn’t interested in even as a kid. We had this game when I was in elementary school and I just couldn’t get interested in it.
So when Trey started playing I just couldn’t jump on board. I’m glad he has something he is excited about and of course we have boundaries on how much he plays, but it’s been cool to watch his hand/eye skills develop and see him learn this new game. But it was something I wasn’t participating with him in. Ty could talk with him about it, show him secret portals, take over when he couldn’t defeat one of the big bad guys and be the hero Dad Trey needs him to be.
Me? I make snacks. I mean, that’s important too…but it’s not really relational.
So that night, I told Ty I needed to start playing the game when the kids were in bed (have you ever tried to play a game while nursing with two bruiser boys bouncing on you?) and I am doing pretty well.
This has been a fun thing for us to do together when the other kids are napping. He has delighted in showing me new tricks and seeing me get through different phases of the game.
If you’ve every gone through the Love and Respect series or read about the Five Love Languages, this all makes total sense. I knew Trey needed that “shoulder to shoulder” time for me to just sit there, watch and be present with him while he played the game. But I needed to take it a step further and show an active interest in what he loves. Even four-year-olds need to feel like you care about what they care about. In fact, especially four-year-olds (or any age kid) needs to feel that. If I don’t show him I care about this, it communicates that I don’t care about him.
And it’s working!
The results have been kind of amazing. As I was writing this he said “I loved you four fruit snacks and then you learned more about Zelda and now I love you five fruit snacks.”
It’s been an incredible change in our relationship. The other day, my son voluntarily sat in my lap. He gave me a spontaneous hug. He smiles when he speaks to me. And (dare I say it?) he is obeying better than ever.
So now, I’m a Zelda Mom.
About the Art
I painted this illustration specifically for this post and because I knew it would make Trey happy. I don’t actually have this shirt – it’s his. And I was right. He loves this painting. He took it back to his room to put on his end table while he napped. Yay. 🙂