Happy Valentine's Day from Clara & Rose!
Clara's preschool group did a little Valentine's Day party on Wednesday so the night before I picked up some little premade Princess valentines from the grocery store because I was super lazy and it was late and I was already there. When she woke up the next morning and we were choosing which card to give to which class member, she saved the most coveted Ariel card for Dax, who she has a thing for. His mom told me later that when Dax was helping get his valentines ready he told his mom that Clara got the cellophane bag that clearly had a few extra conversation hearts in it, so I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual.
One of the reasons I was out late that Tuesday night and feeling lazy about making homemade valentines is because I was asked to be one of the presenters at our Relief Society midweek meeting. Which I probably wouldn't bring up on here except that the topic sparked so much conversation that I came home and discussed it with Paul and then the moms in our preschool group who had been there were talking about it the next day as well. It was on the Five Love Languages from the book by Dr. Gary Chapman, which I already knew about but had never actually read before. Basically the book says that people understand love in different ways and to show someone that we love them we need to be doing it in the way that they will best understand (i.e., speaking their language). Everybody took a questionnaire at the start of the meeting to identify their primary love languages and it was no surprise to me that mine are Acts of Service and Quality Time. The other three are Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Physical Touch. Paul hasn't taken the quiz yet but I'm positive his primary love language is physical touch.
The names of the different languages are fairly self-explanatory, I think, but I learned so much more in the meeting and in my preparation to present. For example, with Physical Touch it talked about implicit and explicit touch, which goes beyond the straightforward ideas of a spouse who feels love through touching. Dr. Chapman explains that somebody whose love language is physical touch will feel loved by implicit touching like a hand placed on their shoulder when you walk through a room, or intentionally standing close enough to them to brush arms while working in the kitchen, or sitting close enough on the couch that your legs actually touch. And obviously there is more explicit touching involved in a relationship and we talked about that too. But what got interesting was having an open discussion with other women about this love language and hearing one of them say that sometimes it takes actual conscious effort for her to maintain a hug for more than a second and to not pull away, not because she doesn't love her husband but because touch just isn't a way that speaks love to her and she has a million other things to be doing at the time or has spent all day being touched by her kids and feels stifled. And I was nodding along knowing exactly what she was talking about. When I got home Paul and I talked about this phenomena and how it seems totally obvious that touching like this would express love but that while it might speak to some people on an intellectual level (i.e., because my spouse hugs me I know that I am loved) that it might not be speaking to them on an emotional level (i.e., knowing you are loved and feeling loved aren't the same thing). This was our big ah-ha moment and takeaway of the night.
My primary love language is Acts of Service and I got to present on it. As I was preparing, I read a number of blog posts of people who had read the book to get some additional insight and the thing that stuck with me most was the person who said that somebody whose primary love language is Acts of Service will appreciate hearing the words "Let me do that for you" more than anything else. And I was like, "BINGO!" It is SO true and such a revelation to me, even though I already knew that I felt loved through service. Because I almost get weak in the knees hearing that. And I totally get why these are called love languages because "let me do that for you" translates in my brain to "I love you". Its strange and ironic that service is my primary love language because I have a tendency to be super independent and like to do things myself. But one example I gave in my presentation was how Paul gave me a new computer for my birthday, which was great, of course, and I had really been needing one, but what was even more meaningful to me was when he took the time to figure out how to transfer all my music and photos from my old computer to the new one for me. I hate that kind of maintenance stuff and it made me feel so loved that even after spending all day sitting in front of a computer at work he would take mine and figure out how to do that for me. Another example I gave of how acts of service translates to love for me was how it seems like whenever I visit my parents my dad slips away at some point and fills my car with gas and washes the windows. Its small and simple and might not mean as much to somebody who primarily feels love through words of affirmation or physical touch, but it gets me choked up just thinking about it because that act of service tells me how much my dad loves me.
As for the other love languages, I really enjoyed learning more about Quality Time (my secondary love language) and thought it was interesting how it was pointed out that Quality Time creates a memory bank to draw upon in the future more than any of the others. And speaking of quality time, Paul and I enjoyed a fun pre-Valentine's Day date night in the city eating at Epic Roasthouse where I had some excellent swordfish, Paul had a too rare ribeye, and we split a delicious spaetzle gratin (must learn how to make spaetzle). We took a blurry selfie in front of the Bay Bridge while we were walking to the restaurant.
Valentine's Day itself was laid back. Paul surprised us with a beautiful vase of tulips and chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite!) and balloons for Clara and Rose. And Clara was excited to give Daddy the chocolate toffee heart and card that we had picked out for him. Mostly though we hung out around the house and watched our friends' daughter while they went to the temple in the morning, then Paul made dinner for us that evening.
The day was so nice that when Paul was cleaning out the gutters up on the roof he started spraying the girls with water, which they thought was hilarious. Here's a video of it:
Valentine's Day 2015 from Amy Nash on Vimeo.