My family and I are beginning to emerge from quarantine and resume some *new* normal routines. This weekend was a treat because we got to celebrate a friend’s special birthday by the pool with a small group of friends and their kids. We hadn’t done this since before March 13th, like most of you, and I’m not here to debate what is right or wrong about our get together but just to bask in the goodness that is the friendship that brought us together. It was refreshing for my soul to see everyone, laugh together, and celebrate a special birthday! I happily packed our cooler per B.Y.O.B. pool party rules because I don’t want to be an alcohol moocher, but I have to admit I didn’t bring a birthday gift.
I am that friend who rarely brings a birthday gift, and not because I don’t love the birthday girl or being invited to parties, but because my love language is quality time and words of affirmation.
I am a work in progress in stopping my own self consumed day of wiping up formula off the floor to remember that my friends and family are not like me in every way. I used to think that I got a pass on bringing a birthday gift because my life is chaotic (@everyone, go on and eye roll at me) since having started a small business and have a baby in the same month. Thankfully my friends and family graciously still invite me to celebrations! I started looking around at other friends with kids, and busy lives of their own, who managed to bring gifts and diaper bags through the door. I started looking around and noticing that I was the only one there to celebrate with no gift in hand (also the only one sweating, but that’s a different post on the best/worst deodorants).
Hear me out, it isn’t about the gift rather truly about the thought.
The thought of thinking about someone else and the fact that their love language might be gifts. The thought of walking into a store and seeing something a friend would like and then getting said gift for said friend to let them know you’re thinking about them. It is about the thought that I can love someone else in the way that speaks to them, not me. You’d think I would be getting more practice at home with my husband but we have similar love languages so it doesn’t require much effort outside of my comfort zone. Our marriage requires work in other ways, but we got that loving feeling for each other (heyyy baby daddy).
If you are still with me but don’t know what the Love Languages are allow me to introduce you.
The concept is from Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, my husband and I took the quiz when we were dating and I can highly recommend it. It is the five ways in which the majority of us give and receive love most commonly. It’s love explained and expressed in ways that make it understandable and actionable for you to love those around you in an effective way. I thought it was all crazy nonsense until I tried it with my family. My mom is an ‘acts of service’ kind of gal, while my dad is more of a ‘words of affirmation’ person. Knowing this helps me to do things for my mom to express my love to her and tell my dad how much he means to me. We aren’t the perfect family, but knowing this has helped tremendously.
The five love languages are acts of kindness (service), gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, and physical touch.
You can go ahead and put me down for quality time and physical touch; as in, I want a hug and then to chat the night away over drinks. The way in which we receive love is typically the easiest way in which we give love but not necessarily the best way in which others feel most loved. Brings me back to my friend’s birthday party this past weekend, the thought (and action) of bringing her a gift would have conveyed my love for my sweet friend in so many ways. All this to say, my conscious knows the right thoughts to share my love for my friends and family around me but my self absorbed brain didn’t think far enough ahead to get a gift or even bring it.
My friends and family have been so kind to look past my faults (this no gift thing just being one of many!) over the past year while I’ve been adjusting to motherhood. It makes me want to love them better in every way! Motherhood has morphed and reshaped every inch of my life and I want to work on being the best me possible with my son watching my every move. It takes conscious effort, so this is my deal with myself. This is my accountability, my public pledge to love those in my life well.