I am a physically affectionate person. When I’m with people I love and feel comfortable with you’ll usually find me playing with their hair, giving massages, hugging or snuggling them somehow. I am a firm believer that I’ll never be too old to snuggle with my parents… They’ll always be my parents and I’ll always be their daughter. The act of feeling safe in their arms is natural and instinctual and crucial to remembering where I came from.
Somehow, even though I express love and feel love through physical affection, I have felt the love for my family deepen and increase (change to be stronger, better, more mature) over the last 6 years of living in different states.
I guess I could argue that although physical touch is the most powerful way to show me you love me, words of affirmation and acts of service can show me too. And, I can learn to receive love in different ways.
Phone calls, texts, blog posts, FaceTime, Skype, letters, packages, more phone calls, costly visits, more phone calls. That’s how I communicate with my family that’s far away.
I could imagine living close to them, like in a nearby town, and how much that’d change our experience. I probably wouldn’t FaceTime or chat on the phone for long periods with my parents since we would know we can actually see each other in person very soon or that day if we wanted to. That means that Sarah wouldn’t have her one-on-one phone conversations with my mom where she gets to have her all to herself. Sarah’s communication skills have definitely been affected by the fact that she gets to communicate on the phone with her grandparents often. That means she has to focus on something she can’t see if they’re not FaceTiming and she has to practice formulating relevant verbal questions and answers.
I was standing in my kitchen in home we lived in on Fort Rucker, AL while my mom and I talked on the phone. In that conversation I realized that we were trying to love each other without considering how the other feels loved best. I learned that her love language is “acts of service” and one of my strongest next to physical affection is “words of affirmation”. I wanted to hear her tell me why she loved me and how much she loved me or else it was hard for me to believe that she loved me… crazy, right? Or maybe it’s not so crazy. These were the words that I heard my mom say next. “I adore you, Minta.” I felt so much peace and comfort in that moment. It was like I could finally believe that my mom loves and accepts all of me. That was about three years ago and I still relive that moment in my mind often to remind me how much she loves me. I don’t know if we would have had a conversation like that had we been living by each other all that time
Being far from family can feel almost wrong at times. Thankfully we’re conquering that challenge by showing love for each other in different ways only necessary because we’re so far apart.