It was a Sunday afternoon, and I had drove an hour away to spend the day with my family walking along St. Charles Avenue. Each year around this time, my mother schedules a long weekend in New Orleans where we can all get together and enjoy time with the family. This time around we ate too much (New Orleans, you always have delicious food!), visited the National WWII Museum (very moving and highly recommend if you are in the area), and rode down to Canal Street to grab coffee. As we were walking back to our hotel, my mother turned to me and asked what I had planned on Monday since we would be off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I casually mentioned that I had a post I needed to finish about celebrating love every day with your spouse or family or friends. She turned to me and said, “Feel the love”. A big smile slowly formed across my face. We had the exact same thought. I kindly replied, “That is exactly what I was thinking.”
You should know that my mother has a spirit in her that is so unique from anyone I have met. I love that about her. She is fun. She has personality. And when it comes to spending time with her grandchildren, she has a way of teaching them interesting habits. When I started thinking about love and celebrating Valentine’s Day and figuring out how I wanted to approach the topic, I knew a simple story was exactly what I needed because love should be kept simple.
You see a few months ago, my mother taught my nephew their own way of expressing love. Tiny fingers were folded to create a peace sign. Two taps on the heart. And my nephew looking up to mother with big green eyes uttering the words, “Feel the love, Mimi”. It was their way of saying to each other “I love you”. And for them that small gesture was all that was needed.
Love looks different to each and every person. And everyone has their own preference on how they want to be loved. Our job in life is to show those around us love as often as possible and in ways they enjoy whether that’s celebrating on Valentine’s Day or celebrating any day of the year. I love how simple that expression of love was between my mother and my nephew. It was their story that inspired me to share a few of my favorite ways to show love throughout the year!
- Use Words. Love and appreciation and kindness go hand-in-hand. Celebrating love doesn’t necessarily have to include gifts. Sometimes giving a compliment or expressing words of appreciation to those around you is the only simple gesture you need to do. Thank him for picking up the dry cleaning on his way home. Show gratitude for the way she cleans and organizes the house. Notice how much each and every person does in your life and share your appreciation with them.
- Simple Is Best. If you are looking for ways to “feel the love” with those around you, listen to what they often talk about. What do they need? What do they enjoy? What is happening in their lives? Maybe she needs a babysitter for a night out with her husband. Or the opportunity to go on a double-date to change up their usual date night. Maybe he really enjoys home-cooked meals, and eating out has been the norm for a while. Whatever it may be, take an interest in their lives and find simple ways to help them throughout their days.
- Be Random. Holidays and birthdays and special events are great to celebrate, but one way to surprise those around you is to show love on the “just because” days. Purchase a beautiful bouquet from the market and surprise her with her favorite flowers after work. Or if you don’t have time, check out flower delivery by BloomNation as they use local florists and occasionally offer same day delivery. Grab a piece of dark-chocolate or a bottle of wine you know she will love and have it ready for when arrives home during the week. Be random with your actions. Pick any day during the month and surprise them.
- Place A Stamp On It. I was born and raised in a small town. After high school, I went to college in a bigger city and chose to stay in the area. The friendships that I grew up with are very special to me. We have known each other for so long, and although we live in different cities those friendships are still near and dear to my heart. One easy way to care for those you may not see every day is to drop a little something in the mail. Whether it is sending a bridal magazine in the mail for a recently engaged friend or shipping a few beloved items to cheer up a friend through a hard time, it is through those simple acts that people know you love them.
- Clear The Schedule. We all get in the “busy” rut at some point in our lives where you just can’t seem to find time to spend with family and friends. One of the sweetest gestures you can do when you see the “busy” appear in your life is to purposefully clear a few minutes or hours or days (whatever you can find) in your schedule. Mark it on your calendar. Make it a priority to spend time together. Whether it is talking during an afternoon walk with your children or grandchildren or grabbing dinner with an old friend, make the ones you love a priority in your life.
Next Tuesday. Or Valentine’s Day. Or a moment 125 days from now. Whatever time it may be, keep the idea of love close to your heart. Find ways to “feel the love” with those around you each and every day.