Something interesting popped in my head the other day. It is not terribly profound, but it sort of reveals something about love and about the way that we show love. It's this: people show love by providing for other people something that they always wished they had growing up, but they didn't receive.
My father, whose possessions were bought and sold and traded without consulting with him, never made us throw anything away. It makes for a cluttered house but he was showing us love by telling us that our things were important and that we didn't have to worry about things disappearing while we were asleep or away at camp.
My mother, who grew up in a weirdly non-discussing household, brings up uncomfortable topics spontaneously. Yes, this makes for some awkward moments at dinner parties, but in her own way she is showing love by saying, "If you want to talk about x, y, and z with me, it's all right."
Sometimes it's easy to overlook these things, or even to be annoyed by them, because if someone has met their goal of providing these things to us, then we don't feel a "want" for them and so we don't understand why that could be so important to someone.
I get a bit bogged down in daily life from time to time and I forget to look at the ways that B says "I love you" without actually saying "I love you" (which he also does frequently). So last night, right after this idea jumped in my head, I thought, what did he never have, but wished that he did? Enough money; stability, consistency. And he goes to work every day, sometimes more than once a day, to make sure that the bills are always covered and we don't have to worry about what we will eat. At times I have been frustrated by his drive to keep working more and more, but then I think of what is behind it -- the desire to do better for his family and give us the one thing he always yearned for before he was old enough to provide it for himself. Him going out to work every day is like a giant diamond necklace in a velvet box.
Literally minutes after this idea popped into my head, I walked into the room where B as sitting on the couch watching Goodfellas. "You know what I want?" he said, apropos of nothing.
"Just once, I want to hand you a pile of fifties an inch thick, and say, 'Go buy yourself something nice.' That's my goal." He smiled. "Anything you want."
Aww. I love you too, hon. ;D