Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's the little things

Love.  Tonight the kids and I were eating dinner and I asked them what they thought the word means, seeing as how tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  Before that though, the kids were making Valentine's for their favorite babysitter while I was getting dinner together.  Gavin asked me to write the message out on a separate paper so he could copy it down in the card.  I wrote 'Happy Valentine's Day.  Love, Gavin'.  He asked me to read it to him and when I got to the word 'love', his face contorted in a way that made me wish I had my camera.  It wasn't in a bad way, he was just highly confused why I chose to use the word.  After seeing his face, I told him he could write 'from' instead of 'love' if he wanted.  I wrote the word 'from', and then was instructed to leave him alone so he could write.  When I returned to the table, this was his message:

follow the arrows!
 After all that, he opted just to sign his name (at the top of the card), but I thought this part of the card was too darling not to share.

While we ate, I asked Gavin why he didn't want to use the word 'love' for his card.  His response was a typical Gavin response, 'well, if I love her, I have to kiss her and the only girls I kiss are Mommy and Brynn'.  *Smile*  His heart still belongs to his mommy (and he feels ok about his sister, too).  I explained to Gavin that we can love people without kissing them and we can love things too, like his Eeyore or blanket.  It was here that Brynn began offering her laundry list of things that she loves...from nail polish to Lady Gaga (we had watched the Grammy pre-show before dinner) to her 'butterfly bedroom' to cheese.  I find it so funny how different our kids can reserves his 'love' for a specific and carefully chosen few people and items, while the other can find something she 'loves' about practically every aspect of her life. 

Maybe it's that Gavin has created a specific understanding of the word 'love' in his mind, and reserves such word and feeling for only the elite few in his world.  (Gee, that makes me sound a little pretentious, huh?)  I know Gavin cares a lot and 'loves' the people and things in his world, even if he doesn't use the word.  So I won't push him to say it...just accept the 'little things' that he does to show his love.

That reminds me of a conversation that Randy and I had when we first started dating.  We pretty much spent the first months (years, really) of our relationship on a long-distance basis, which made it challenging at times.  Especially because I was student teaching while he was still enjoying college life with his buddies.  We relied on the weekends to spend time together, but at the same time we wanted to be with our friends.  It was hard to find time for 'just us', with him living in a dorm and then apartment with roomates.  So it was the 'little things' that made the long distance part of our relationship both manageable and memorable.

1. One night, before we were 'dating', we were all heading out for a night of fun, and he reached over and grabbed my hand, despite the taunting and razzing our *dear* friends gave him.
2. Another night, before we were 'dating', I 'fibbed' to my dear friends, telling them I couldn't hang out just so he and I could go to a party together...then we ran into my friends while heading to the party (oops...I'm still sorry about that, girls!  But I know you understand!)
3. For our 'first' Valentine's Day, he gave me a card with George Bush on it...on the inside it said he thought it would look good on my desk.  I gave him Swedish Fish and Reese's Cups.
4. He knew that I slept better knowing he was safely on his way back 'home' after a night out with his friends, so he'd call me to talk as he walked home.  Unless it was between the hours of 4-6 a.m.  He knew better (except that one time when he clearly was in no shape to be even walking anywhere).
5. Randy was on a field trip (in college?!) for a geology class when I had traveled up to school with my friend for a job fair.  It snowed, so we called our professor and said we were 'snowed in' so we could stay another night.  Randy thought we left before the weather turned bad, and we wouldn't see each other for another week.  I tiptoed into his dorm room to surprise him...and it's one his favorite memories from college (I'm pretty sure?  Wait--it better be!)
6. He'd let me borrow his favorite sweatshirt for the I'd have something that smelled like him when I was home.
7. Whenever we came to a grate in the sidewalk, he'd carefully guide me around it, not just because I was freaked out by them, but so my heels wouldn't slip through the holes.
8. When we were out in a crowd, he'd grab my hand and squeeze three times ''  I'd squeeze back twice 'How.much.', and he'd squeeze back to let me know how much.  Our quiet little way of reminding each other we were thinking about the other.
9. One night when we were out with friends, he made me a rose out of the napkin.  I still have it.
10. During his seven-week long field camp in the western part of the country, he sent me handwritten letters, telling me about his trip, how much he missed me, and what he was doing.  We normally relied on instant messaging or the phone for our commuication.  I still have them. 

There are countless other moments, tiny memories that I keep...some that I honestly forgot until just tonight as I was thinking of them (some are too personal, some take too long to explain, and some are those 'you had to be there' moments).  All those moments, those 'little things' that remind us both of what's really important--'us'.  It's easy to get caught up in life, to take the little things for granted.  While our hand-holding days are very few and far between these days (well, we hold hands, but it's with the kids, not each other), and our 'I love you's' may occassionally sound obligatory in our rush of daily life...there are other 'little things' we do that show our love.  I'm going to make time to focus on those little things, to re-develop an appreciation for them, and to try and find a few new 'little things' that will show our love for each other.

Just looking at these two adorable faces remind me every day of how much love I'm capable of.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

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