Loving the Middle

I’ve been a wife for 9-1/2 years, and I’ve been a mom for 7-1/2 of those years. I’m a mom to three boys, and I’m really thankful for that; I think boys fit my personality better, maybe? It seems rare that I put on a skirt or dress or even make-up. It’s not that I’m lazy, but I’m certainly more comfortable in pants (or even super fluffy pajamas, if you really want to know). When I put on a dress, my 5yo always tells me I look like a princess. I mean, really, what stressed-out mama doesn’t want to be told she looks like a princess?

Now, I could be very wrong when I say this, but I’m thinking that every parent has a child that is just like him/her. Am I right? I certainly have one. My 5yo son is loud, fast-paced, a non-stop talker, super social, in your personal space, overly dramatic, and highly distractible. He has been like this for as long as I’ve known him, which is like, you know…his entire life. Even when I carried him within he was super active especially at night, and to this very day he still struggles to put a cap on it all when the lights go out. He’d rather sing himself to sleep, something that I remember doing when I was a child. He’s just. like. me. And you know what? He drives me bonkers. Not gonna lie. It’s Crazy Town up in here, and I’m surprised I haven’t won the title of Queen yet.


His 5th Birthday out at the aquarium.

The last couple of years as he’s developed his little (?!) personality, my soul has seen a great deal of sanctification, tearing away the scales of my eyes to see my own sinfulness before the Father. As I raise my sons, this middle son in particular has been a special tool of the Lord (I think) to help me learn more about the grace of God–how to receive it and how to give it. And I pretty much have sucked at it. I wish there was an “until now” there at the end of the previous sentence, but each day is a new journey, a new battle as I try to utilize the Sword of the Spirit against the temptations the devil brings my way, temptations of getting easily frustrated irritated with all of my 5yo’s different antics. Did I happen to mention that he likes to step on things and he sometimes breaks objects just to see what it would be like? Yup. This does not sit well with my I-really-like-to-control-everything personality.


His 4th birthday, and he’s always a Cheese for the camera.

Just yesterday I had an epiphany, a moment where my heart fell to its knees in utter humility before Christ because of how immense His grace is toward me, a rebel and sinner. It has so rattled my heart and my mind, and I am thankful for this journey even when it’s painful, because I learned something new about myself, my God, and my sweet Medium Banana, and what I learned seems already to be a catalyst for change in my spirit. I’m so excited!

Have you ever read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages? It came out back in 2004, and I think that’s when I read it. Now, that was two years before I married Stephen, but I’ve retained the basics in the 11 years that have passed. I have never read the kids’ version, but I’m guessing the premise is similar. Well, I was helping the Medium Banana work on marking his chore chart (yes, I’m that parent who likes lists and check-marks next to each item when possible). I was trying to encourage him and was feeling particularly affectionate and gave him some extra squeezes and kisses on his cheeks. His heart seemed so joyful at this, and it was like the Holy Spirit schwacked me in the face: MB’s primary love language is physical touch! Lightbulb moment! He always wants hugs and kisses and snuggles and any excuse to lay his hand on your shoulder/arm/hand/anything-he-can-reach. Stephen and I don’t dare to leave without giving him a hug and a kiss or he cries with a broken heart. Just thinking about it makes me tear up. His secondary love language? Words of affirmation. “Mommy, do you think I’m doing a good job?” “Mommy, do you like the picture I made?” “Mommy, aren’t you happy that I did _____?” He loves it when I call him Sweetheart. Any kind of verbal praise makes his face light up brighter than the sun.


These two are BFFs. Big and Medium Bananas

Now, I’m not beating myself up about it, but I’m still wondering how, in five years of living with and getting to know my boy, did I miss that these are his primary love languages? He and I have had a rough time getting along in the last year (primarily due to my own selfish desires), and I feel like this new knowledge is going to help pave the way for a brand new relationship with my sons. All three of them.  Because after I realized what MB’s love languages are, I began thinking about Big Banana’s as well. I think his are quality time and gifts (both giving gifts and receiving gifts, just like his Daddy). Tiny Banana is still so little that his are currently unidentifiable, but you better believe I’ll be watching for them to develop.


Taking silly selfies is definitely a favorite pastime with this kiddo.

I can’t begin to express here in words the joy that overflows my heart knowing more about my boy. I truly have struggled to find ways to enjoy being around someone so much like myself (although our love languages are somewhat different: mine are acts of service and words of affirmation). Don’t judge me, I ask you. Everyone has moments when they want to run away from their responsibilities; some of us struggle more than others. But as my husband reaffirmed for me last night over the phone, this blog is helping me search for ways to be thankful in every circumstance, and I can hardly believe where God is taking it all! This knowledge of MB’s love languages is a tool, a beautiful and amazingly gracious gift from my Savior so that I can do what I’ve been praying for His help to do: love my sons the same way that Jesus does. So I share this thankfulness with you in the hope that your eyes also will be opened–do you know the love languages of those in your home? I have been praying that you would be inspired to go searching for that tool of knowledge so that you, too, can learn to love them more. Just like Jesus.

“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart…”
(1 Kings 8:23 ESV)



  1. Mark B. Johnson · December 29, 2015

    Very nice individualized blog. Something your middle banana will treasure always! Continue to ask Lord God to send you and yours His Blessing!


  2. Larissa Arias · December 29, 2015

    Dude. I can totally relate! Emory is exactly like me, and that struggle is real! Thanks as always for being transparent. It’s always very relatable to me (we’re soul sisters) and reframes my thinking for the better. 🙂


    • Ashley B · December 29, 2015

      Haha. I love that! Thanks for thinking of me as your soul sister. 😉 I’m so blessed to hear that my blog is blessing you!


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