“My Son’s Love Language is Mac ‘n Cheese”
by Bronwyn Lea
I am convinced that my son’s love language is Mac ‘n Cheese.
We seldom eat cheesy meals at home, since both his dad and sister do not care for cheese (in fact, my husband calls a certain restaurant establishment ‘Taco Hell’ because it does not have a single menu item without cheese). But my boy disagrees: his love for melted cheesy goodness is a deep and delightful obsession. On the days when the cheese-haters are not home, he will hop from foot to foot in the kitchen, begging for mac ‘n cheese.
A few weeks ago…
…he was at my side, “helping” in the kitchen. Step by step, he read the instructions. “Mom,” he said, “it says that for a richer flavor, you can add one tablespoon of butter.” He lowered the box to make meaningful eye-contact: “You’d better add the butter,” he instructed. “I like my mac ‘n cheese expensive.” Yup. That’s how he likes it: orange, and expensive.
I love to make this simple meal for him. It comes from a box, and yet it “fills his love tank” like nothing else. He knows it is made ‘specially for him, and he beams and savors every bite. We do many things for our kids because we love them: we clothe them, teach them manners, sock away pennies into college funds even while wondering whether inflation will devour it all. We love them by teaching them skills, by putting passwords on devices which have evils they can’t even imagine yet. We love them by saying “no” to the excesses of sugar and screens and stuffies.
In truth, my son doesn’t always feel very loved by these acts of ‘parental loving’. Not unlike Bill Watterson’s young hero in Calvin and Hobbes, my children are full of ideas on how I can “improve my ratings” by granting their wishes. He often does not feel loved by my ‘no’s’. But, as it turns out, he does feel loved when a bowl of hot, orange mac ‘n cheese is put in front of him, and on those occasions, it is my delight to say ‘yes’.
Watching my son’s simple joy in a bowl of pasta, even while he is oblivious to the many, more significant ways in which we show our love to him, always pulls back the curtain a little on God’s perspective on me as his kid. I have my own “mac ‘n cheese” delights: things of little significance and probably of negligible emotional or spiritual dietary value – but I love that I get to do them.
Much like my son, I am often not very mindful of the great, big wonderful things my Heavenly Father is taking care of: keeping my heart beating and my cells multiplying, working all things out for good, commanding the heavenly host, listening lovingly to all the prayers of all believers in every pocket of this noisy world, etc. But I am aware of the simple joys of getting to play Scrabble. Or of taking a walk and seeing lilies.
I am reminded that God knows how to fill my love tank, too. Frivolous as those little things might be: he delights in our delight. He loves us in all the wise and seasoned ways that Parents Who Know Better love their children, and yet he also loves us in the little and personal details that show ‘He is familiar with all our ways’ (Psalm 139: 3). God loves us with details tailor-made for us. He loves me with puns and vanilla ice-cream. And my son? He loves him with mac ‘n cheese.
Bronwyn Lea is a South African born writer-mama, raising 3 littles in Northern California. She writes about the holy and hilarious in the life of faith and parenting, and hosts an advice column on her blog. You can visit her online at bronlea.com, and find more of her words on Facebook and Pinterest.