How I feel loved in a home where the ‘L’ word is too scary.


In our home love is a scary thing. We tell our boys every night before they go to bed that we love them, we don’t often get a response. If we mention love during the day we can sometimes be met with screams. (See my previous post about the trampoline). However I have come to learn that our boys do love us in their own way even if they can’t say it. (James can’t even say mummy so if he came out with “I love you” I would probably faint!).

Here are 10 ways I know my boys (mostly Tom) have accepted me and love me:

1. Tom gives me a kiss on the forehead when I put him to bed.

2. James gives me his bear (the love of his life) for me to kiss when I put him to bed.

3. Tom says “you’re my friend mummy / daddy”. This is a big deal for him.

4. We share a bowl of grapes together, trying to take it in turns.

5. Tom gets excited when going shopping with daddy as he likes to choose me flowers then carry them home.

6. On a Saturday the boys try to be quiet to enable me to have a cup of tea in bed, this is not always successful but they both give me a huge hug when I see them after.

7. This week Tom admitted he missed us when at nursery.

8. Some mornings when daddy is at work, Tom will climb into bed with me and ask to make a little den together under the covers while holding me tight.

9. Both boys join in our “love hugs”. This is where all four of us have a hug together, each of us with a child on our hips so we’re close to the same head height, it is amazing every time.

10. Both boys hold onto me while we dance around the living room with massive smiles on their faces.

It’s all a work in progress and there have been a few occasions where Tom has told us he loves us but it is still such a scary thing for him to say, however trying to break it down and look at his actions and reactions we know he feels something strong for us and even if it’s hard to admit he wants to be part of this family.


The story of mummy and daddy.

When I was a little girl my mum used to tell us ‘dream starters’ to help us go off to sleep. These involved us coming up with names / people / locations and she would start the story off, we would then continue it in our heads as we were going off to sleep.

Recently I found myself putting Tom to bed and I had forgotten to bring a book up so I offered him a ‘dream starter’, he wanted a story about mummy and daddy, a real one. Now this was a bit of a shock, I was expecting it to be about him and dinosaurs!

So I told him a ‘real’ dream starter about how we met and came to find him. This is an edited version of the story and some of his, and my, responses in brackets as I feel they add to it. (As a note I used mummy and daddy all the way through as it was easier for him to understand at this time).

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful mummy and a slightly weird daddy (lots of giggling).

Beautiful mummy and weird daddy saw each other across a room and decided they liked each other and wanted to get married. (He was fine with the concept of love & marriage at first sight – we didn’t get married for over 2 years!).

Mummy and daddy loved each other very much, they had a big house but it was very quiet and there were no toys (gasps of shock and disbelief at this house be quiet and there not being any toys).

Mummy and daddy decided they wanted some little boys as they had lots of extra love and extra space in their house (“space for toys mummy?” “Yes and 2 spare rooms” “that’s good”).

Mummy couldn’t be a tummy mummy so they decided to see their friend the social worker Doris (“I know Doris, I know her, I know her” he was excited!).

Doris went looking for 2 really special boys with her friend Mandy (boys SW) and met Jane the foster carer (“that’s my Jane”, getting more excited).

Jane was looking after 2 gorgeous little boys called Tom and James (“it’s me, I’m in the story, it’s me, it’s me”, slightly over excited now & I was starting to think he was going to be too excited to sleep).

Mummy and daddy met with Doris, Mandy and Jane to talk about the boys, mummy and daddy liked the sound of the boys and thought they were the most gorgeous boys in the world (he just nodded his head as if to say “well obviously I’m gorgeous you tell me every day”).

Mummy and daddy decided they wanted Tom and James (“good idea mummy”).

Mummy and daddy then met Tom and James, they liked them and they all decided to live together in their big house with lots of toys, so Tom and James became part of “Team X” (we used our surname and sang the “everything is awesome” song from the Lego movie with added “when you’re part of Team X”).

Then ……… (“What’s happens next mummy” “we’re here now, what happens next is up to you” – long thoughtful look- “you can dream about all the exciting adventures the 4 of us will have together” “I liked that story mummy”).”

Since then he has asked to hear the story several times, he likes the idea that we had a story before the boys came, it has also helped him understand he has a story. He has tried to tell us “the story of Tom”. Obviously “the story of Tom” would be easier if we had his life story book but we are still having that battle with the LA! Tom also enjoyed being able to finish off the rest of the story, knowing he has a say in what happens next in our lives.

I keep thinking it would be nice to do our own life story book of how we came to have the boys, hopefully it will help the boys understand we all come from somewhere different but are together now.

While I write this Tom is smiling and looking gorgeous and happy watching Shrek and James is fast asleep, it reminds me of how much our lives have changed and how exciting our story is. On the other hand they were both screaming nightmares an hour ago and I was thinking how quiet and tidy my house used to be – but I wouldn’t change it for all the headaches in the world.