My heart squeezed a bit with sadness as I listened to the rushed message on the phone. My husband was going out of town, unexpectedly.
For sure, this was something that we are familiar with and know can happen, but no matter how long the separation, it is hard for the boys. Dad is the go-to bedtime story reader, the one that enjoys potty humor right alongside with the boys, and is a fountain of cheer, always.
Less than 24 hours later, as the boys and I were still sleeping, he left the house to catch his 6:30 am flight.
Whether your loved one is far away from you for a short period of time or longer, acts of kindness can be used to decrease the feelings of distance. We’ve had the chance to use several frequently, and any of these ideas can be used to cheer someone near you as well. One of our favorites (and the favorite for those that receive it) is the Love Song. It is from Bye Bye Birdie, the song “I Love You, Conrad.”
I learned this song while fighting off mosquitoes and staying up late at Girls’ Camp during the summers. What started as a “camp song” is now part of a family tradition used to be as obnoxious or sweet (depending on how we sing it) when we want to connect with another.
As a family, we use our “Love Song” pretty regularly, and it has become a frequently used inspiration for turning a bad mood to good, bringing cheer to others. We’ve sung it to one another, to relatives that live far away, to the fire fighters at the fire station, to church leaders, and to our favorite Adopted Grandma who lives nearby us. We aren’t performers. We sing off-tune, and there are often crazy antics during the performance. Those little details really make it more memorable and, often, funny.
On the morning that my husband took off on a business trip, after the boys were *almost* dressed for church (you know that struggle), we sat down and sang out our love for him.
Personalized Love Song
I uploaded it onto his page on Facebook, and he was able to see it once his place landed. He immediately texted a love note back to the boys.
We personalize the song, putting the person’s name in it. Once kids learn the tune and the basic lyrics, it is an act of kindness that can be taken and given, anywhere, at anytime. Materials free, cost free act of kindness.
We love you _(insert the name of person or group)____.
Oh, yes we do!
We love you _____,
and we’ll be true.
When you’re not with us,
Oh, ____, we love you!
(The kids will likely add their own ‘fun’ elements to the song with their antics. Allow them that space. Our only rule when singing it is that they have to be still enough for the person to see their face and understand the lyrics. As the song is around 30 seconds, they are able to do that, easily.)
The song is fun to sing. We’ve created different variations from rapping it, singing it “opera style,” putting it to sign language, and adding our own quick lyrical dance moves as it is performed. Not only is it fun to receive the song, but it is a positive action that can be taken when a separation is causing heartache.
Other Ideas to Connect with a Loved One:
- We’ve made a Scratch Off Love Chart inspired by the Scratch Off Chore Chart from No Time For Flashcards. In each of the squares, we write kind things and aspects we love about that person. The boys either mail the chart to their loved one or secretly stash it in their dad’s luggage.
- Make a cheer poster, take a picture, and text it that someone special that needs cheer.
- When away from home, Dad will make lunch love notes ahead of time for me to put in their lunch boxes while he is gone.
- Before he leaves for a trip, Dad might make a secret message similarly to how you make these Secret Message Valentines from the Pleasantest Things.
- To stay connected while traveling, Dad will purchase 2 copies of the same book and read a part of the book to the boys each night with the boys following along with their own copy.
- Mail a Hug from Who Arted is a fun, easy way to send a hug in the mail.
- You might be interested in Tips to Help During a Long Separation from Katie Hurley with Practical Parenting.
If Kindness Songs are your thing, Deb at Bits of Positivity shares many songs that may be just the thing to inspire kindness at your house, Free Kindness Songs or Rhymes.