at dinner bella launched into a marty love-fest that went something like this.
you're so awesome mom. i mean, you wake up super early in the morning. then you go work all day. then you pick the boys up from school. take them to playdates. then come home and make dinner. and then sit and grade papers every night.
well, i don't grade papers every night. i maybe should, but i don't.
you shouldn't have to. you do everything for everyone else. you're an amazing mom.
thanks bella, but you're starting to embarrass me.
while this sounds like a great story, i would like to point out that i was sitting right there next to my daughter and, uh, like, i get up in the morning too and maybe not as early as either of them, but i, uhh, like, do get up. and while i don't pick the boys up from school, i do drop them off which is, kinda, uh, more important because if i didn't do that then they wouldn't be there for mom to pick up (did you think of that?). and then i go to work. so what, am i, a bowl of steamed bok choy sitting here.
at this point, we were finished eating and by the looks of things kids were minutes from asking to be excused. then bella asked marty, "what can i do to show you i love you?" this simple, pointed comment opened up twenty minutes of bonus conversation, conversation that led to an interesting discovery about our family.
marty's first response/reaction to bella's question was to ask that she always come home on time and only date nice boys. while she meant the comment to be funny, i heard the fatigue in her voice, fatigue that came from doing things for her daughter and two sons on their day home from school. knowing bella sought something she could do now and everyday, i put my hand on bella's arm and said, "your mother is an acts of kindness person so she would like you to do something for her like put away the dishes or make dinner or pick up the bathroom." marty confirmed this observation adding that was why she did the things she did for bella, things like color bella's hair and drive her to rollercade when she would rather sit in front of the fire and read her book." bella sighed at the confession and thanked her again and then began rattling off a litany of things she was going to do for her mother to show her gratitude.
this led to an explanation about the theory of the five love languages which believes people show and want love in one of fives ways:
through acts of kindness
through words of affirmation
through physical touch
through gifts or tokens
through time together
after we went through the description of the five options, bella asked how you figured out what yours was. marty and i explained that the easiest way to discover this was to imagine that you had a terrible day at school/work and when you came home to your family, what is the best thing your family could do for you. we added that for mom it would be for someone to do her chores so she could go curl up on a couch and recoup.
with this knowledge in hand, we rounded the table and worked to identify each person's language. when we were done, we found we had, at this moment in time at least, each of the five languages were represented at our table. i found this enlightening, as well as a bit surprising. in case you're wondering mine for the next time you see me, you can start by massaging some part of my body, as was previously evidenced here.
if there was a downside to this exercise it is that it has made bella over-think all of her interactions with her family. for instance, if she was standing next to her mom she might put her arm around her which might lead to her naturally rubbing her back. after a moment she might say, "oh. wait. you're not the touch person. dad is. one sec." she'd then move to my side, start rubbing my back and say, "is there anything i can do for you mom?" since marty is our acts of service person. while it's a bit peculiar to have someone cater the interactions with you so, it is also admittedly refreshing to see someone care enough to go to the trouble of trying to make you feel loved and special. i reckon just about everyone everywhere wouldn't appreciate a little more of that in their days.