Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gifts that Keep Giving

Especially in November, I recognize that I'm really lucky / thankful to be surrounded by all this Love.  Most people have probably heard the 5 Love Languages alluded to, but the basic premise is that people feel and give love differently.  This hasn't been canonized or anything  but I do feel it rings true in most people.  It varies with the dynamics of certain relationships and at times in my life it shifts.  It is over-simplified and I think that often how people naturally show love is very different from how they feel loved, but here are some examples:

  • Acts of Service -- My Folks -- When they visit, my house is cleaned-up, my dad has a mental list of things on my furnace, a/c, foundation, and plumbing to check.  My mom cleans screens and sweeps and organizes.  They help us through the worst spot of every project.
  • Quality Time -- My Grandma --  just loves to sit and visit, which I don't do often enough, probably because it isn't my natural Love Language and I'm so busy being all crazy; at some point my priorities need to get in line.  She is a delight.
  • Words of Affirmation -- My Husband -- is great at encouraging when people do a good job, especially me.  He is my number one cheer-leader, he may not read my blog or do his own laundry but he tells me how delicious the soup is, and how fantastic and witty I am... 
  • Physical Touch - My Dear Daughter -- is constantly giving back rubs, manicures, holding hands, hugging with all her strength, and walking too close, which is also why the poor girl gets lice.  I don't want to squelch her love language, so I've just gotten really good at nit picking and we all give her lots of hugs.
  • GIFTS! -- My Mother in Law -- shows love by giving, and we have been the lucky recipients... It took me awhile to adjust to accepting these gifts with just gratitude (not guilt), and that is what this blog is about. 
This is more than a public Thank You / Affirmation; I think some of the things she does are absolutely brilliant, it isn't over the top, she doesn't pay for everything, it doesn't add clutter to the house, she tailors her gifts differently for different kids, it has changed our life for the better, and she doesn't feel pressure to do them (I don't think); besides, at this time of year especially, people, like myself, who don't have the GIFTS! Love Language, tend to need a little inspiration.  I have a surprisingly large number of Grandparents who read, but I think this is relevant for Aunts and Uncles and Friends too.  These are some of the things that our Fairy God-Mother does for us (her grown children and grandchildren) on a regular basis, often she doesn't even ask, they just happen:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas is such sensory over-load.  I'm still kind of in a daze and exhausted.  It is all so flashy and over the top.  I love to get away with just my DH but I'm glad the conferences aren't all in Vegas; I can only enjoy it in moderation. I don't gamble.  I am most certainly not club'n material.  I am frugal to the point of being cheap but Vegas is still so interesting.  It is sad and happy.  It is America at it's best and worst.  It is crazy but safe (mostly).  There is no judgement, which is refreshing. 

Anyway, there is one thing that I absolutely love about Vegas, and it is the hand-holding.  I'm a hand holder.  My parents are hand-holders.  Even my sister and I held hands (mostly skipping, swinging our arms, and whistling the Smurfs' theme song).  I still remember distinctly when my now DH took my hand for the first time; we were at a $1.50 movie, The Addams Family... in late November 1991.  I also remember the first time he took my hand in public; it was a statement that we were together.  His always warm dry hand felt safe.  It felt like it was us against the world. I had dated other people but nobody's hand ever felt like this.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I pretty much hated my Middle School years.  I was in a really conservative setting and knew I didn't fit in but not why or if I would eventually fit anywhere.  I knew I wanted to be "good" but it felt shallow and forced and unrealistic.  I wasn't ego-centric but instead saw very little joy in the world-- of course, none of this was articulated because I was in Middle School and an emotional mess, but I have to say, being a mom to a Middle School-er just might be worse.  Being moody and confused and insecure and lost is AWFUL but watching this "little" person you love going through all of these growing pains is much much harder (as my Aunt L would say, "and you thought potty training was a challenge").  

Before leaving on our marriage / conference / retreat this week, my pre-teen boy leaned over to give me a hug goodbye; the hug lingered because change is always hard for him, even when that change is spending the weekend with his beloved (and overly generous and adoring) grandparents who live in town.  As he walked away, the pants that fit him perfectly a couple of weeks ago were more like capris.  He had a little limp because of Osgood Schlatters in his left knee and his poor sweet adorable face was covered in pimples that no facial cleanser / toner / spot treatment could control (at least without some black market connections). It is like all of the craziness of this stage of life is trying to force itself out any way that it can.