My Love Language
Lindette, Marcial, and Kate
I must start this by saying that I am missing at least a photograph or two, that I will add before long, to this essay. The missing photographs are of a gift, given to me by my dear friend Linda (Lindette).
How dear a friend is Linda? Among other amazing qualities, like being kind, supportive, and loyal; Linda, who works in journalism and is aware of my grief, over a certain television talk show personality, who due to his unseemly behavior is no longer a source of information or enlightenment, is a woman of integrity who stands by her convictions and speaks truth.
Now, I am not saying that she lied, in fact I do not believe that she told me anything other than the truth, but when I asked her if she had ever met Peter Jennings, a man I deeply admired and respected, she of course answered that she had, and not breaking my heart in any way, shape, or form, went on to tell me what a nice and decent man he was and how she had sat beside him at dinner, while he engaged everyone around him – ah, I can sleep well!
Recently, Linda came to dinner, unexpectedly accompanied by a beautiful box, decorated with a hummingbird. Inside the box was a collection of treasures, which I have yet to properly photograph, but will.
You see, Linda had been a Nixonette, at the 1972 Republican Convention, which was held in Miami Beach; something which of course I find fascinating, and would love to have her share her experience with you – maybe one day! When she originally told me about being a Nixonette, among other things, she mentioned that she still had her sash, scarf, and a slew of buttons from the convention.
I loved everything about Linda’s story. Richard Nixon was the first President that I was actually aware of, and coming from a family of Republicans, with a good Cuban Father, we of course supported President Nixon – do not even attempt to make this politically negative – I truly do not want to hear it. I loved that Linda went to a presidential convention, I loved that it was for a Republican candidate, I loved that she was so young when she got involved in politics, especially since we actually met at a political campaign, and I loved that she had held on to these mementos.
Yes, Linda did mention giving me this historical treasure; but honestly, we all say many things that do not always come true, for one reason or another. I was excited, at the thought of seeing them, as I do collect buttons, especially political buttons, but as I told her, this is something that should be given to her sons; she said they passed, but gentleman, I will be the care tacker of this piece of your history, they are yours when you want them.
As I took the box into my office, and gingerly (by the way, a word I learned from Peter Jennings) unpacked the scarf, sash, and the numerous buttons, I could not help but feel so very loved by Linda, and honored by her friendship. I could not believe that she would give me such a gift, but nor can I believe how she is so generally kind to me, for absolutely no reason, except that she has chosen to allow me to be her friend. As I showed my sister, Linda’s gift, I started to think about the term “love language”, which is fairly new to me and I have not read the book from which the concept comes. For a quick primer, in case you too are relatively unfamiliar, here is what Wikipedia has to say, with a few edits, the complete article can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Love_Languages
“The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate is a 1995 book by Gary Chapman. It outlines five ways to express and experience love that Chapman calls “love languages”: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. Examples are given from his counseling practice, as well as questions to help determine one’s own love languages.
Chapman’s book claims that the list of five love languages is exhaustive. According to this theory, each person has one primary and one secondary love language.
Chapman suggests that to discover another person’s love language, one must observe the way they express love to others, and analyze what they complain about most often and what they request from their significant other most often. He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love, and better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands. An example would be if a husband’s love language is acts of service, he may be confused when he does the laundry for his wife and she doesn’t perceive that as an act of love, viewing it as simply performing household duties, because the love language she comprehends is words of affirmation (verbal affirmation that he loves her). She may try to use what she values, words of affirmation, to express her love to him, which he would not value as much as she does. If she understands his love language and mows the lawn for him, he perceives it in his love language as an act of expressing her love for him; likewise, if he tells her he loves her, she values that as an act of love.”
Most often, I have heard my niece use the term, expressing her daughter’s love language; and I must say, I found it quite refreshing and enlightening, processing how my great-niece feels that she is loved. I felt like I had been given a key or map that made sense to me and could also allow me to be a better auntie.
Like most things in life, I am afraid I do not fall into one simply cozy box. God bless the person that chooses to love me, I feel rather certain I require all five ways “to express and experience love”, and then some – though I am not in a position to list what that “then some” might be. However, what I do know is that I get rather happy when I feel loved and love comes in many shapes and forms – like Marcial giving up a Saturday, before the start of his vacation, to help us by lifting 55 pound buckets of roofing material, up an extension ladder (thank you Mark for lending us the ladder).
When Kate decided that it was time to coat the roof, of the house in Florida, with this heat reflecting material, I wrote Marcial, and asked if he would consider driving up to Broward, and lifting the many, many buckets of material, to the roof. I gave him a lot of outs, all of which would have been perfectly acceptable and appropriate. Not only does he have an extremely demanding job, but there is a lot on his and his wife’s plate, at the moment, trying to address so many other people’s needs. Also, they had a family vacation planned, and we all know how much we must do to get out of the house, to enjoy a holiday.
do not think Marcial hesitated a minute, after reading my email; he instantly said what time would you like me to be there?
Watching Marcial lift these insanely heavy buckets to the roof, I thought about how much I love and appreciate him and his very dear wife, Adriana, and their lovely children, that I have known since they were children, but are actually now adults. I have no doubt Adriana could have used Marcial around the house, to help get ready for their vacation, yet she let us have him for the day, thank you!
I am not speaking out of turn, as Kate is my editor, and will certainly have a chance to veto this sentence, but as Kate and I ran into each other on the front porch, she thanked me for writing Marcial, and asking him for his help. She said she could never have asked for help, but could never have gotten those buckets up there without his help.
I will admit, neither Kate nor I are good at asking for help; I am not sure why that is, but I know it is true. Kate has one of the strongest work ethics of anyone I have ever known. Her fall four years ago certainly took its toll, but it has not stopped her from being a good steward of her time, money, and talent, even when the burden she carries are anything but lite.
I was worried about bothering Marcial, though I know he is handy, he and Kate took down a few trees at the house in Maine, but home maintenance projects are not a requirement in our friendship; I also worried about how Kate would feel needing help – I was so very grateful that she was pleased to have had the help.
The weather did not cooperate with Kate, she had her roofing material on the roof, but rain kept her from finishing her project; however, that did not stop her and Marcial from keeping busy, as they began cutting palm fronds, I felt overjoyed by love.
We have often been told that we should hire someone to do the countless projects we take on, and maybe we should; but watching Marcial working with Kate, I could not help but think about how much love it takes to engage in an activity that means nothing to you, in and of itself, but that you know matters to your friends, and thus you give up your Saturday, to help.
Linda, Marcial, and Kate, are thankfully not an exhaustive list of people that I feel love me, but tonight, as I sit to write these words, I cannot help but think about the many ways all three of these people have shown me and continue to show me love – like Marcial writing a column for That Is All For Now.
I have asked many people, especially people who have told me that they would like to write or feel passionate about some topic. The night I met Marcial, he told me that had he had his choice he would have studied Liberal Arts instead of the sciences; he also, by the way, the night we met, actually read an entire book of my poetry, that I had given Kate for her birthday – the man found me, at this party, and made various incredibly insightful comments about my work, completely blew me away that night. But he did not ask to write for these pages, he however did humor me, when I asked him to write a column on film. I cannot imagine he always even comes close to agreeing with what I have to say, but his commitment has never wavered, and he wisely figured out how to be true to his demanding life and still do this favor for his friend.
My heart overflows; maybe I do not know what my love language is, but I do know that I am so very grateful to the people that figure out a way to love me and I want to say thank you, I do hear your love language to me – thank you for sharing your lives with me, for humoring me, and for helping me. That Is All For Now.