The Languages of Love according to Gary Chapman: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.
The Languages of Love according to Pettigrew: tummy rubs, behind the ear scratches, above the tail scratches, people food samples (especially from the grill), and rawhide bones.
My Languages of Love appear to be morphing into a cross human-canine mishmash.
This came home to me on our recent family vacation. As a loving wife and mom to two teenage boys I carry sustenance when we travel. Water, beef jerky, nuts, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.
But my loving intentions met a snag when I kept offering my family rawhides. Yes, yes, I meant to say beef jerky, but somehow the wrong word came out again, and again, and again. My family questioned my ability to differentiate between them and Pettigrew. “It’s Pettigrew who loves rawhides,” they told me. “Rawhides are for dogs.” What can I say? Pettigrew must’ve been in my thoughts.
But it’s harder to explain the fact that I have caught myself scratching my kids behind their ears when I smooth their hair. I think I’ve gotten away without anyone noticing; however, it’s disconcerting to realize you are caressing your child the way you pat your dog.
And finally there’s the whole fur/hair issue. At some point the words became interchangeable in my vocabulary. So, I might comment on the cowlicks in my son’s fur or needing to vacuum up the tumbleweeds of hair from Pettigrew’s shedding.
My family does not see eye-to-eye with me on this. For them, there’s a language appropriate for humans and a different language for dogs. For me, it’s all one big language of love.