I knew that in my logical brain -- of course we need to let our children know that our love for them is unconditional, and not force them to reciprocate actions that emulate our particular style. My heart was still hurting, though.
But the scriptures tell us to raise our children by following their lead; we are charged to discover who our offspring are as people, what makes them tick, andthen to match our parenting accordingly. It's an interesting notion, and one I suspect most of us don't truly take the time to consider.
I want hugs from my boy, and love them when he is generous with them. But I am going to make a special effort this week to really discern each of my children's individual styles, what makes them uniquely them (I know some of this, but if I am honest, couldn't answer every question on the topic)!
I suspect that taking the time to discover their uniqueness will not only give me a better understanding of my children, but also a broader appreciation for God's creativity.