For about half of our marriage, Eric and I do this thing where I ask him the following question:
“Why do you love me?”
He responds by saying:
“I love Lori because…., by Eric. I love Lori because…….” and then lists for that day and whatever may be going on between us. And then we switch and I do “I love Eric because…., by Lori”. So mine might be something like this:
I love Eric because he loves our kids. I love Eric because he loves chocolate chip cookies (and makes them better than I do!). I love Eric because he did the dishes last night just because….etc.etc..
I’ve started doing it with the kids, too and they LOVE it. They devour it, and ask for more when I’m done. I decided to do it with both of them at dinner the other night. Not only was it great conversation, (because seriously, they are 2 and 4 – the conversation can be lacking at times!) but it was a great way to get them to sit at the table and eat just a bit longer than they would have otherwise. It was a side benefit I never saw coming! After our “I love Jacob because…by Mommy,” and “I love Hannah because…by Mommy,” they then launched into “We love Mommy because….” And my heart, much like the Grinch, grew three sizes! I love these kinds of mommy moments.
While doing the dishes after our corny love-fest dinner, I was reflecting on their responses of why they love each other, but more importantly, what do I want my kids to know? If they learn nothing else from me, what 1 or 2 things do I hope they take away from me as their Mom? And as it usually happens, that 1 or 2 items eventually grew to become more of a list.
So here it is. If they learn nothing else about life from me, I hope they know this:
How to love, and express it. Know that love is a verb, an action word. It’s a decision everyday to care about someone even when you don’t “feel” the feelings all the time.
To have faith. Through trying times, tragedies, and just life – faith is what gets you through. It’s what gets me through. I honestly don’t know how people get through the rough stuff of life without faith.
How to have a sense of humor and laugh. And be able to laugh at themselves. With faith – a sense of humor can carry you through rough stuff as well! That and it’s just good for your soul. And your face!
How to develop a lifetime love of learning and reading. As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” We recently got a library card and I’ve taken the kids a few times now and I hope they love it as much as I do. The library system in our country is one example of how knowledge and education really is within EVERYONE’S grasp, regardless of race, socio-economic status, religion or any other category, so long as there is a willingness to learn.
To choose a spouse wisely. This one decision can be 90% of your misery or happiness for a bulk of your lifetime – choose carefully.
That what you do, matters. Little things like the way you treat people, your occupation, your diet, to exercise or not, all of it. It ALL matters. It all has far reaching consequences even when it seems that you are the only one a choice is affecting.
To not be afraid. To not be afraid to be themselves. So what if not everyone likes you? That’s ok. Be who you are. Be transparent and open. You’ll know better who your real friends are and it is much less exhausting keeping up with a fake version of yourself.
That’s my list….anything you would add?