People show their love in different ways. It's not the content, so to speak, that matters. It is simply the idea that we find a way to let those we love see that we are thinking of them. In our house that boils down to simple things like coffee, toothpaste and choosing the wet towel.
A little (but really big) expression of love in our house is making the morning coffee. Every morning Kaitlin, who is NOT a morning person, sets her alarm to get up before the rest of the family and brew a pot of coffee. It is usually Allen and my habit to get up and have coffee and do our morning study. The last weeks of my pregnancy getting up on time, when I was usually just getting to sleep, became an unheard of thing. Allen was the official coffee maker. And now I nurse Henry at 6 am and try to let Allen sleep a little longer. For him, getting to sleep a little longer shouts, "I love you." So Kaitlin took it upon herself to take over the morning coffee. She doesn't even stop with the brewing. Before you have a chance to open your eyes you can smell a hot cup of coffee right there on the night table. That's like writing "I love you" in half and half.
My hubby knows how obsessed I am with making sure I take good care of my teeth. He writes "I love you" in toothpaste. No, not literally. Sometimes I am so tired it's all I can do to get to the bathroom and brush my teeth. But somehow those nights when I get there I find my toothbrush lying on the sink just waiting for me with toothpaste on it, all ready to go. It doesn't take much time or effort but it sure speaks volumes.
With a new baby, a major construction project, a graduation and life in general we need to be constantly lifting each other up right now. There are lots of great things happening in our lives but there are also big decisions to be made and lots to do. We could both burn out really quick. It is important for us to be intentional about finding ways to show each other that we are in the same corner. Those little things are the fuel that keep a marriage and family going on the best of days. When life gets stressful, though, it is often knowing someone else is looking out for us that gives us a little nudge to move on to the next moment and the glue that keeps a family strong.
In our house there never seems to be a dry towel. Quite honestly, I don't know why. Everyone has their own set of towels in their own special color and their own hook to hang it on. We have a towel wash day every week when all the towels are washed, dried and returned to the hooks. In the master bath, which in theory is used by two of us, there are six towels. Two people. Six towels. There should always be a dry towel. Wouldn't you think?
But, no. Whenever I take my shower I find there are no towels because one of the younger kids used our bathroom and couldn't reach the hook so they put the towels (wet none the less) in the dirty laundry. Then you have to wait until towel day to get them washed and well, it could be a long week. Alternately, one of the big kids used our bathroom and forgot to bring their own towel. So, they use our towels. They actually hang the towels back up but now the things are soaking wet. I am not sure which is worse. Seeing there are no towels and having to trudge to the laundry room in hopes of finding one or seeing the towels and hopping in the shower only to get out and find they are all wet.
I personally despise getting out of a nice warm shower and having to wipe down with a wet towel. But I must admit it beats drying off with a hand towel. Which, yes, I have done on more than one occasion. So, today, when I got home from running I was getting ready to hop in the shower. I checked and one towel was dry and the two remaining towels were soaked. It was hot. I had worked hard. I was really looking forward to a nice shower. There were no towels that were both clean and dry. My opportunity for a shower was running out altogether by the time I finished looking. Allen had continued for an extended run and would be home any minute. Unlike me, he doesn't even really mind a wet towel. But how much nicer would his workout be if he got a nice fresh towel for his shower? And so I chose the wet towel.
And he probably didn't even notice. Because he is a guy and, living with four of them, I have learned guys don't always notice the things we women think they should see. But as I rushed through my ritual and moved on with the rest of my day I sure felt great for my decision. And that's one of the great things about this symbiotic relationship we call love and marriage. Somehow when we go out of our way to show someone else that we love them, it comes back to bless us far more than the person we were trying to reach in the first place.