My dad was a lover not a fighter.
He was. He was a lover. A big softie. :D
And he was a huge gift giver.
Pick a year (any year), look at one photo from Christmas in our house and you would understand. You would see a brightly decorated tree with a flood of gifts underneath it and spilling out on all sides. Every year we had to remove bottom rows of branches from our artificial tree because there would not be room for all the gifts if we put all the branches on the tree. Stockings on Christmas morning were often laid on the floor in front of the fireplace because they were overflowing with “stuffers.” It was not unusual to find a stocking overflow bag with someone’s name on it. Serious gift overload.
Yes, Dad loved to give. Dad would write poems, give flowers, wrap up gifts.
But the Snickers bars were the most interesting thing of all.
On any random day Dad would come home with a Snickers bar for Mom. No pomp and circumstance, just ‘Here’s a Snickers I bought you.’ Sometimes they were just left on the dining room table to be found. Mom was always pleased to get them. I remember thinking once or twice, ‘Wow, Mom really loves Snickers, doesn’t she?’ Months might go by, but eventually, there would be another Snickers.
As my sister and I got older there started to appear three Snickers bars instead of one: one bar for each of his girls. What teenager will turn up her nose at chocolate? We thought it was pretty cool but, y’know, whatever.
It wasn’t until a few years after Dad passed away that Mom let me in on the secret. A Snickers bar was their secret sign, a private way of saying ‘I love you’ that wouldn’t mean a thing to anyone else except the two of them. Every time he brought home a Snickers, he was telling Mom, in their special way, how much he loved her.
It reminds me how important it is to tell our loved ones that they are just that – loved. Not just on special days like Valentines Day, but on the random days. On a day when the roast burned because the baby was crying. On a day when a dad soothed his sick toddler at 3am. On a day when nothing special happened and nothing terrible occurred. On a day like today and yesterday.
Maybe you need a secret sign between you and the one your heart loves, like a Snickers. Maybe it’s a peanut butter cup or a special IPA. Maybe it’s a back rub or knee squeeze. Obviously, make it something your special someone likes or you might end up in the doghouse.
Don’t forget to tell them. A secret sign does no good, if the person doesn’t realize what you’re trying to say.
Whether it’s with a Snickers or a kiss (the chocolate kind, right?), look for creative ways to say, “I love you.”
What secret ways can you think of to say, “I love you?”