Did you see these two dogs that were victims of the Tsunami in Japan earlier this week? It was shown on Yahoo. The bond between the two is obvious just through their actions. No words needed.
I wonder if there are circumstances under which my love for my husband and my children is as obvious, without the need for words.
Maybe it is clear when I am screaming at my children to stop jumping off of the couches? Or maybe it’s when I give my husband a perfunctory kiss as I walk out the door not to return for 10 hours.
Oh, I know. It’s the eighth time my son calls my name to look at the Legos he built – when I realize he won’t stop so I finally turn my head away from the computer and say, uh huh, in an obviously distracted voice. Yep, that is clearly the moment he knows I would do anything for him.
Or is it when I drop my 3 year old off at preschool and she’s crying for me to take her to work with me? Is that the moment that she can turn to as evidence I would protect her with my last breath?
How about the days my husband and I pass each other in the driveway as we are shuffling kids to sports practice and everyone is eating whatever they can grab as they walk out the door?
Or the endless conversations with my 9 year old about reading before she turns the TV on. Is that when true love is shown?
What is love?
Ultimately, as I’m reflecting on the things that make up our day to day lives, I find myself nodding my head. Yes. Those are the times when love is shown.
- Stop jumping off the couch because I love you and am afraid you’ll be hurt.
- Read before you watch TV because I love you and want you to have the skills you need to succeed.
- You need to go to preschool because I love you and want you to have friends and learn from others.
- I’m going to work for 10 hours because I love you and want to shelter, feed and clothe you and expose you to a variety of activities and experiences.
It is also in the late nights spent rubbing the back of our children when they are sick. It’s in the soft touches, the hand that tousles a head of hair just out of affection, in a smile shared across the dinner table or the school auditorium. It is getting out of bed every day and going to work to provide for our families. It is in showing up to the soccer practices and baseball games and school plays. It is the parent/teacher conferences when my husband always asks why I interrogate the teachers every year.
It is the conversation about which flowers to plant and where. It’s in the predictability that I will want to plant before Mother’s Day and my husband will shake his head and warn about the late frost.
Do we need a tsunami to show we care?
Love can be shown in small gestures and in life altering ones. But if we are lucky, we will never have an opportunity to give our last breath for our child or sacrifice our seat on the rescue helicopter for our spouse. If we are lucky, we will never have an opportunity to prove our love in large and grandiose ways.
So rather than waiting for a tsunami to hit so we can show our loved ones that we care, try showing your love in small gestures that don’t need words.
- Create a secret handshake with your son.
- Leave a note for your spouse in their lunch box or computer bag.
- Take pictures of your family laughing together and then frame them and display them proudly.
- Put the latest piece of art, no matter how smeared or indecipherable, on the refrigerator.
- Make your family’s favorite holiday dinner in the middle of a regular work week.
- Take family vacations together.
- Take care of yourself so you will be around longer to support each other.
- Give out hugs and kisses like they’re water. Why be stingy with them?
- Do a chore you know your spouse or children hate. For me it’s ironing. I know my husband loves me when he irons my shirts.
- Hold hands.
Yes, we will give everything for our loved ones in times of disaster. But it is just as important to give small pieces of ourselves in the everyday as well.
How do you show love without words?
***Article first published as Love in the Midst of a Tsunami on Technorati.