“I may not love you perfectly but you are perfectly loved.”
When I was a teenager, I remember being annoyed with my dad. I thought he should acknowledge my accomplishments more than he did. He wasn’t one for giving compliments and I found myself pouting over that issue more than once. I wanted him to give me verbal praise for things. I wanted him to tell me he was happy with my performance on the track, or on the balance beam or that he loved the character development I achieved in the school play, but that just wasn’t his way and it made me mad.
It made me mad until I had a realization one day. I figured out that it wasn’t my dad who had the problem, it was me! My father showed me each and every day that he loved me and he let me know that in ways small and large. He often made little folded airplanes for me out of matchbook covers because they amused me. When he had a bag of pecans, he’d patiently crack open and clean one nut for me each time he cracked one for himself and he ate my Lima beans without telling my mom because he knew I hated them. He worked tirelessly and without complaint so that my sister and I had the material things we needed (and some we didn’t but just wanted). A huge chunk of his paycheck went to the Hamlin School for Girls…an academically challenging, private school in San Francisco. He let us buy books and magazines whenever we wanted. He never said “No” to reading material, be it comic books or my very own encyclopedia set (which I enjoyed immensely especially on rainy weekends). I had tap dancing lessons, ballet lessons, horseback riding lessons, tennis lessons and swimming lessons. My dad took the family everywhere he traveled because he wanted us to experience other places, people and cultures. In other words, he was a great dad but I chose to focus on the one thing he didn’t do…give verbal compliments.
Once I gained the insight to look at the whole picture and to take what he gave me with gratitude, I was a much happier girl. It changed our relationship for the better since I was no longer childishly demanding he do something entirely foreign to his nature. I opened my own heart and suddenly, I could see what I should have all along…that I was always loved and always appreciated whether he gave words to it or not.
It’s a lesson I’ve carried through all the rest of my life. People love you in the way that’s most natural to them. It’s a waste of time to fret over the things they don’t do (like bring you flowers) if can see that they show you appreciation in other ways (like happily fixing your car when it’s broken). Sometimes you can make your own happiness by simply adjusting your own perspective.
*One year, my dad started going to McDonald’s constantly. He hated the food there but ordered his Happy Meal and dutifully ate the thing several times a week. One day my older son who was about 3 at the time said “Grandpa sure does love McDonalds.” I smiled and said “No, he sure does love YOU.” He was going to McDonald’s and ordering Happy Meals in order to collect the toys included in meal. He was on a quest to get each and every Teeny Beanie Baby in the collection since he found out his precious grandson liked them. Now that’s love!
Here we are on one of my very favorite days. Valentine’s Day is always special. I like everything about it. I like the pink, red, chocolate and flowers. I like the teddy bears and the cards with awful rhymes in them. Who couldn’t revel in a celebration of love? Maybe I enjoy it so much because it’s a chance to stop and take stock of the love we receive but more importantly of the love we give into the world. You see, I think that’s our job. What else are we here for except to shine the light of love into the dark cracks? We don’t have to go looking far to find places where a little word of kindness can make a difference. Every day presents us with opportunities if we are looking for them.
…and while we’re looking for those opportunities, we must also remember that we deserve our own gentle treatment and encouragement. There is nothing noble in being unkind to yourself. Whatever tasks you take on, whatever goals you set (in the gym or out) you will fall short at some time or another. That is inevitable. The way you respond, however, is critical to your future success. If you allow a blaming, shaming internal dialogue you probably won’t be able to salvage much from the experience. Nobody learns or grows well in an environment of negativity and that includes the one you build yourself with cruel thoughts and words directed internally.
While we celebrate this beautiful day, remember that you have great power to affect the world. You never know how much a simple, loving word or deed can mean to someone else and you can’t very well do a good job of finding those opportunities if you’ve torn yourself to shreds with your own thoughts. Be easy with yourself. When you stumble, take a deep breath, resolve to do better, dust yourself off…and keep going.
I tend to be rather reserved when it comes to sharing details of a highly personal nature. I like to write but usually don’t post about my love life, however I’m so smitten with my new sweetheart that I almost can’t stand it. You know that feeling, it only happens once, maybe twice in a lifetime when you meet someone and you just know you’re meant to be together. Everything just falls into place.
Señor Pancho has stolen my heart and we don’t even know each other very well. It happened so quickly it almost takes my breath away thinking about it. Two weeks ago he showed up at my house. I wasn’t looking for a relationship but fate had different plans. I saw him there looking so wonderfully appealing. We shared many stolen glances before I sidled up next to him. I couldn’t resist his charms no matter how I tried. A brush of my lips against him and our fate was sealed. A few moments of being alone together and I was his!
This whole thing happened so fast, I sometimes worry about our future. The fire of our passion burns so hot that Señor Pancho is almost all I can think about!
I’m aware that unbridled passion like ours can have detrimental effects. I know in the back of my mind that I may feel the need to push my darling away as time goes on if I can’t control myself around him to some degree. My great hope is that I can keep everything in balance, that I don’t completely lose my head so I can continue to enjoy Señor Pancho’s delightful company for all the days to come!
I love Valentine’s Day and I have ever since I can remember. It never mattered if I had a romantic interest or not. I just enjoy this pretty, pink, sparkly day. I like thinking about the people I love, the people who’ve been in my life for a long time and the people who’ve simply passed through but left a lingering trail of kindness and sweet thoughts behind. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate the bonds that weave us together, that serve as a protective barrier against the harshness that life can bring and that provide a gossamer-soft safety net that catches us when we fly too high, or miss our mark, or make mistakes?