Some years back, Dr. Gary Chapman, wrote a book called The Five Love Languages in which he proposed that we each have a distinct love language, or maybe two or three. These are things that others do for us in which we feel loved and cared for. Some of them on the list are: receiving small gifts, quality time spent with you, affection, etc. I’ve only read parts of the book, but have had lively discussions with friends about it and some fun thinking about my kids and what their love languages are. It’s helpful to focus on things that the recipient will really appreciate.
Two Wednesdays ago, I went for my day of teaching at Redeemer School. One of the staff wished me Happy Birthday…to which I hesitantly replied, “But it’s not my birthday.” She said that I needed to go to the teacher’s lounge and look at the table of goodies. She was sure it was for me and my birthday. I was gobsmacked to find a paper wishing me a Happy Half-Birthday, a card, a wrapped present, and plates of unbelievably decorated cupcakes!!
My secret pal (who is not a secret to me now:) had made these incredible cupcakes for me and the entire staff and faculty! We all oohed and aahed, discussed how we thought she might have made them, and yummed our way slowly through our cupcakes. I was bowled over by the time, exquisite creativity, and care taken to make these for me on my “half-birthday”…a REAL surprise and treat!!
These days of teaching leave me exhausted. I usually stop by Starbucks for a bit of quiet and refueling before I go home to engage with my kids and husband, and begin the dinner/bedtime routines. On this same day, my husband was cooking dinner! Lemon chicken was roasting in the oven along with vegetables and rice. The smell in our home was heavenly. I kept walking around murmuring, “thank you, thank you, thank you”. Later that evening, he tweeted, “After 20 plus years of marriage, I’ve finally realized my wife’s love language…cooking for her. Who knew?”
Who knew indeed? I didn’t really even know this until he said it. But now it makes perfect sense: I ALWAYS feel loved and special when someone makes food or bakes for me! I’ve always felt that the best food in the world is food I have not had to prepare! I have never relished cooking. I DO cook. Or rather, I assemble food (you know… open a jar of this, a can of that, pour it all together and voila!) But I do NOT get my goodies from cooking. Nope. Never have. It feels like labor, work; even the whole deciding WHAT to cook is tedious and mind-numbing for me.
I have catalogs of memories of dishes and baked goods that others have prepared for me. Beginning with the incredible dishes my mom made growing up: homemade spaghetti, oven baked bass in a scrumptious sauce, artichokes with butter sauce, homemade breads, granola, cookies of all kinds, and of course, my birthday cakes-red velvet, hummingbird cake, chocolate cake. Then there are the meals that good folks brought to us when each of our children were born…I can remember them exactly and many of them I have recipes for, but they never seem to taste as good when I make them. And then there are the meals we have enjoyed in people’s homes…oh my those are good times! In recent memory, there’s a birthday cake that a knitter friend made for me, complete with a lime green VW bug decorated on it (one day I WILL own one of those cars), and ALL the wonderful dishes my husband makes in the winter time. He actually loves to cook…but mostly in the winter months.
You would think, that as much as I love food, I’d love to cook it. I don’t know why I don’t. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that when I cook, there are four differing and opposing opinions as to how good it is; or maybe that I’ve spent hours in the kitchen and once we sit down to the table, in less than 30 minutes, I have nothing to show for my efforts except a huge pile of dishes. I’ve TRIED to make myself like cooking with Pampered Chef gadgets and cool, new cookbooks. But to no avail. I am content to enjoy the fruits of other folks’ labors…their’s tastes better anyway AND I get to have more time for painting and knitting:).