When The “I Love You’s” Became Too Numerous to Count

BOND – ING : (noun) a relationship that usually begins at the time of birth between a parent and offspring and that establishes the basis for an ongoing mutual attachment.

What happens when the relationship does not begin at the time of birth?

What happens when life has taught you that bonds are temporary and breakable?

What happens when the bonder is damaged?

Our children arrived in our home with damaged bonders. I imagine their little hearts like pieces of tape. The first time you attach that piece of tape to something, it sticks securely. Then, you rip that tape off and attach it somewhere else. A little less stick this time around. Imagine that tape has been attached and detached so many times that there is no stick left on it. This is like my children’s heart. There is no stick left on them. Life has worn it away.

But, we are in the process of re-applying some glue.

It takes work.

It takes patience.

It takes the Holy Spirit.

It takes intentional bonding behaviors.

I am always looking for ways to build this bond. This was one of the reasons why we homeschooled that first year home. Those hours upon hours that we spent together provided the basis for a bonded relationship.

When my daughters ask me to wash their hair or put lotion on their dry skin – this is an opportunity for bonding.

When my sons ask me to put a Band-Aid on a barely-there owie or listen to the same story for the 79th time – this is an opportunity for bonding.

Oh, I am definitely not perfect at this. There are too many times when I miss opportunities or get so busy that I fail to stop and listen. But I am trying!

And then, there are the bonding opportunities that God seems to drop straight from heaven and land unexpectedly in my lap.

This was one of those opportunities…….


Leah auditioned for and was awarded a part in the musical Pirates of Penzance.

I am so proud of her! Here she is – in a new country, with a new language, with no history of dance or singing, with no exposure to theatre or musicals – still she decides to audition for her school play. And she got a part!

I know I am biased, but my girl has a natural talent. Music flows through her soul. Drama lives in her heart.

Leah worked hard over the last two months rehearsing after school. She learned choreography. She memorized lyrics. She made friends. She felt successful.

She felt successful.

For a girl who has had many experiences in life that taught her she was unloved, unworthy and unacceptable – feeling successful is a VERY. BIG. DEAL.

Leah and I practiced her singing and dancing together in our kitchen. She taught me the steps. She sang me the songs. I pretended to be in the pirate chorus right along with her.

I picked her up from rehearsal and listened to her stories about the friends she was making, the funny things that happened when they were sword fighting, the silly costume pants she had to wear – and I giggled right along with her.

The week of dress rehearsal, I straightened her hair about 37 times, applied her make-up and taught her about eyeliner and mascara, bought her her first lipstick (to be used ONLY in the performance!) and volunteered backstage so that I could be a part of it all.



And this last weekend, after her hours and hours of hard work, Leah performed at the Cascade Theatre.

This experience proved to Leah that she has worth. It reinforced the idea that she has talent. It was the first of many musicals for my daughter, I am sure.

This experience added glue to the broken bonder inside Leah’s heart. It provided special moments for us to share together. She even said to me, “Mom, when I grow up I want to be either a pop star or a missionary. If I am a pop star, you can be one of those ladies who dances on the stage behind me.”

What better offer could a mother receive? I do believe I will take her up on that.

I wrote several weeks ago about the first time that Leah voluntarily told me that she loved me. You can read about that here.

After that first incident, I started counting. Every time Leah told me she loved me, I added one to the tally. They were rare and special words. I had only heard them a handful of times.

And then, somewhere during the preparation and the practice and the performance, I stopped counting. Not because I forgot to keep track. But because the tally was getting too large.

The “I love you’s” are too numerous to count.





3 thoughts on “When The “I Love You’s” Became Too Numerous to Count

  1. Erica Edwardson

    This is so sweet. She was amazing in the play. Loved seeing them all interact back stage. So fun and I didn’t hear a harsh word. All were loving and encouraging. What an amazing opportunity as well as a beautiful environment for them to be in.

  2. Nicole Huber

    How wonderful! Leah did so great! She looks so comfortable up on that stage! She out does my brave buttons! What a wonderful bond in herself for confidence and with you as her mother! This makes my heart smile Natalie!

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