Monday, November 23, 2009


I think my second love language must be Gifts. I know my first is Acts of Service. I mean, come ON. I’m a busy mother of four who can’t even keep her purse organized. You do something for me? I will love you forever. But, I think my second love language has to do with material objects. Which makes me feel like a Material Girl. (Are you singing it in your head right now? Hee-hee.) Very materialistic. Very selfish. Very Madonna.

But, over the course of the past few months… even years… I’ve come to understand that it’s not as much the object itself. (Don’t get me wrong. I love the gift of a good heel or vintage art or a fabulous piece of jewelry or a Grande Vanilla Latte with whipped cream. Oh, whoops! Was I that specific?) I think it has more to do with what the things themselves represent. It has to do with the thought behind the thing.

What I’m coming to realize is that the things I have represent the people I love.  Somehow, when I wear them… am around them… am enjoying them… it’s like the person that gave it to me is right there. Or I recall the moment, and I feel loved.

When I wear my Steve Madden Leopards I think of Yensi every time I became aware of them on my feet. They were a going away gift as we departed our dear Santa Maria last July and moved to Colorado.

The other day I had on my gold cropped jacket that was a birthday present from Cindy last year, and it brought me so much joy! It was like having her with me all day.

Nearly every time I sling one of my Coach bags over my shoulder I think of my amazing husband who showed me his love in such an unexpected way last Spring.

I’ve been adoring long layered necklaces. And when I wear the gold beads I got for next to nothing at a thrift store closeout I think of Tammy. How we foraged through the goodies, elbowed the crowds, bargained with the owner who was trying to get as much as she could for what she originally said would be free, and how we gave her $10 because it was right. (Well, Tammy gave her $8. I think I only contributed $2. So, if I say “we gave her” it sounds better.) When those beads are around my neck, it’s joy and comfort. Especially when layered with the moth necklace my mom used to wear when I was a kid…

…because that moth necklace means happiness and childhood and memories and family and history.

My sister sent me an incredible pair of Seven For All Mankind light wash boot cuts (along with a few other fashionable gifts) for my 33rd **gasp** birthday . And, while they are incredible and I feel quite sassy in them, what I love most is thinking of her when I have them on, knowing how she thought of me when she found them.

My mother-in-law sent me the most scrumptious gray jersey tube scarf that she made just because I said I wanted one! I feel so loved when I wear it… and very posh.  =^) 

The other day on my way out the door to choir auditions I put on the black collarbone necklace my parents got for me when they were in Nepal last spring. All evening I would reach up and run my fingers over the smooth black stones, feeling so loved that they had thought of me while half way across the world.

There is a mirror hanging in the hall just outside my bedroom door. It used to hang in Nate’s grandmother’s house, right at the bottom of her stairs. Often I’ll check my outfit in it when getting ready to leave for the day, and I’ll think of how Grandmother must have done the same thing in that same mirror. I feel connected to her. And I love that.

It's the same feeling I get when I wear the pear earrings that belonged to her that I wore on my wedding day. Connected. Special.

Nearly every time you see me in gold jewelry I’ll probably have on a gold bracelet that looks like it’s made up of little gold rolls and a small gold ring that has an L stamped on it. Those both belonged to Grams, and when I wear them I think of her. I also think of my sister, who took the ring and had it sized for me after we went through Grams’ jewelry with Mom a few years back.

Nearly everything in my closet tells a story. Everything in my jewelry box. So many things scattered throughout my house. Hanging on my walls. Tucked in a closet. It’s all special for a reason, which is maybe why I have a hard time parting with anything. Ever. Because it’s not just parting with a thing, it’s… in my own, weird way… parting with the memory of that thing.

I used to hate my love of gifts. My love of… things. I hated that I was so materialistic, that I seemed so into concrete objects. But, I’m realizing that it goes much deeper. Having Gifts as a love language doesn’t mean you necessarily love things... or that you necessarily love getting a gift for the sake of getting a gift. It’s that you love thinking of the people whom you mentally connect with those things. And it’s feeling loved by them. Important to them. That they took the time. Or shared. Or understood. Or… it’s having them close to me whenever I’m wearing it, whenever I pass it in my house. And, it’s not that I want more THINGS. Good grief. I have enough, I’m sure. (Unless you have those Louboutins to send me. I don’t have enough of those. I don’t have ANY of those. If you send them, my life will be complete.) But, I always love having more connections to the people I love.

And the amazing thing is that God… my God… my Friend… is so intimate that He speaks to me in the love languages He created me to have. He arranges circumstances to bless me in the most amazing of ways. He gives me boots. And a laptop. He fills me up, just because He can. Because He wants to. Because He loves me. He’s so incredible like that!

So, maybe Gifts isn’t as horribly embarrassing of a love language to have as I’ve always thought.

Although, if you ask me whether I’d like you to give me something or come help clean my house, I’ll go for the clean my house ANY day. Because my number one IS Acts of Service. Duh. Repeat: I’m a mom of 4. Help me with anything and I will love you forever. You can even kill two birds with one stone and give me the gift of someone that will help me. (Read: housecleaner. Just in case that wasn’t quite clear.)  =^)

***I encourage you to read The Five Love Languages and find out what your own love languages are. AND, find out how to tell what other people's love languages are. This has helped so much in our marriage. I can't even TELL you!!! Because Nate could care less about anyone giving him anything or doing anything for him. His languages are quality time and physical touch. (Duh.) There are some funny stories here that I won't share right now. Miscommunications galore. And all we needed was to know each other's love languages. *rolls eyes* If only I had known it was that easy.
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Deb said...

Angela, I too attach memories and feelings to "things" and as a result have become a pack rat like no other. I have come up with an idea, although I will admit I have yet to put it into practice.

My idea is to separate the "things" that I really, really, really don't need anymore, but again, it's that whole memory thing that I don't want to lose. Anyway, take a picture, or several pictures for that matter, and store the itsy bitsy tiny little picture file on my computer to refer to, look at, dote over, reminisce with anytime I want to, and actually be able to dispose of the actual "thing." I don't know ... it might work, it might not. I'm going to start with something that won't be catastrophic if my idea proves to be faulty, but it's a thought to consider ... hmm.

Nicole said...

Thanks for this Angela. As someone who loves to give gifts to those that I love (this is also one of my love languages), it's great to hear that those that receive them may think of me when they use/wear/see the gift and think of me with joy.