I know it might seem a little odd, but I often read the blogs of complete strangers for entertainment. I am particularly fond of reading and learning about people whose lives are completely different from my own -- mothers of large families, women whose religious beliefs or world views vary significantly from mine, people living in different countries -- I consider it somewhat of a sociological experiment. Frankly, I think the world would be a much better place if more people took the time to try to understand life from a stranger's perspective. Although I often can't personally relate to these women's lives, I think it enriches my understanding of the world and its inhabitants to at least read their thoughts.
It is from one of these blogs that I drew my inspiration for my annual Mother's Day post. One woman had discussed a book she had read on our "love languages," that is, how we express our affection to the people we care about, and in turn, how we need to receive affection in order to feel loved. Some people express themselves with words of praise, some give of their free time, some give gifts, others acts of service, while still others express their feelings through touch. The author of the book alleges that divergent "love languages" can cause strife in a relationship; i.e. the woman complains that her mate never makes time for her while the man doesn't understand why his loving words aren't enough for her. The key, unsurprisingly, is to communicate with your partner about how you need to be cherished, and to try to offer affection to them in the form they appreciate best. Naturally, this article got me thinking about myself and the people in my life, and our various "love languages." For myself, I'm not sure I fall into a specific category at all times. I give, and expect, different forms of affection from different sources. However, my mother was easy for me to categorize: her "love language" is acts of service.
I can think of nobody else in my life who is more selfless than my mother. Once a month she drives five hours to Grandma Betsy's house to help her run errands, take her to the doctor or to visit other family members, clean her house, and tend her garden. Currently, Mom is repainting the condo so I'll have a more attractive dwelling, and that's on top of the countless, myriad little favors she does for me like picking up something for me at Target when it's on sale, or listening to me complain about my love life for the thousandth time. She might be judicious with her praise and never flatter idly and she's not the most touchy-feely person I know, but my mother is boundless in her dedication to her loved ones, and supremely generous of her time and energy with them. I wish I could be more like her, but isn't that what motherhood is all about? Serving as a role model for your children, and acting as a living example of how they should conduct their lives? Even though I am now an adult, I still look to my mother as a source of inspiration for the type of woman I would like to become.
Thank you, Mom, not just for everything you do for me, but for teaching me how to give of myself. Someday, I aspire to be able to do for my children what you have done for me. I love you, and Happy Mother's Day!