August 13, 2012
I came home from work on day 301 and you were so exhausted and frustrated from taking care of our dear little ones that I immediately suggested that you go to Starbucks with a Nancy Drew novel for a few hours. You said you were too tired to do even that, but asked if you could take your break in our room. That sounded fine to me. So you lay on your bed and solved the mystery of the whistling bagpipes with your dear friend Nancy while I watched the kids and made dinner.
365 Acts of Love‘s really taught me to look out for your needs and desires and to meet them. Of course, recognizing that you needed a break that day didn’t require Sherlockean powers of perception. Still, before 365 I probably would’ve thought something like this:
She seems pretty tired. I would give her a break, but I just got home from work and I really need to sit down for a while. Maybe I’ll watch the kids in the living room while she makes dinner.
Of course, “watching the kids in the living room” would’ve involved barricading them in the room so that I could sprawl out on the couch with a book.
June 7, 2012
We went to the beach today. Our oldest daughter was so brave to go boogie boarding while we were there. As her reward, I promised to buy her an ice cream.
Later that night, when I took her to redeem her reward, I stopped by Starbucks to get you a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino. I pretended to drink it when we got back. “Want a sip of my coffee?” I asked you. “Sure,” you said, without complaining that I got myself a drink but not you. “Actually, it’s yours,” I replied. With that, you hugged me and said, “You’re so nice when your cousin is around!” Maybe you’re right. I hope, though, that I’m also so nice when he’s not around.
April 24, 2012
You love Starbucks, but neither of us loves to spend $5 for a cup of coffee. So instead of buying you Starbucks, I made it for you at home. I blended coffee, milk, coffee ice cream, and ice together, then poured the mixture into a Starbucks cup:
It was quite unfortunate that we didn’t have whipped cream on hand. But what the drink lacked in whipped cream, I made up for in sprinkles (though in truth, nothing can replace the former):
I even wrote your name on the cup to simulate authenticity:
I think I took this picture after I'd sampled some of the drink, which explains the fact that there's less coffee in the cup than in the other pictures.
Perhaps I should’ve given you the full-blown experience by calling out your name when your drink was ready.
March 26, 2012
On Friday, I graded tests at the Starbucks near your parents’ house. Before I left, I talked to Rose, one of the employees, to see if it would be okay for me to buy you a drink that you could pick up later. She thought that would be fine, so I paid for a Mocha Frappuccino and left a note that said, “just because I love you.” While you were out with your mom, I called you and told you to stop by Starbucks on your way back to your parents’ house and ask for Rose. When you did, Rose made you your drink and gave you your note. I saw you a few minutes later and you were giddier than ever. Looking back, I’m not so sure it was a good idea to excite you with a surprise, then pump you full of caffeine and sugar.
February 25, 2012
My act of love for Friday will happen today–I’m getting you a single stem rose for our date.
Yesterday, I took our oldest daughter on her Valentine’s date. We went to Starbucks, ordered some drinks, then sat and talked and played games. I even gave her a Valentine’s card in which I asked her to be my Valentine. She blushed and said, “Yes,” with the cutest grin on her face. That’s one date down. After yours, I only have one more to go (the littlest is too young for a date, though our daughters insist that I take her on one).
January 17, 2012
Per my commitment on day 107, I brought back the wildly popular five-dollar coffee card yesterday. Each time I’ve bought you coffee or a coffee card through 365, you’ve showered me with gratitude and affection. Last night was no different.
I needed to do some work after dinner, so I went to my office. Afterwards, I stopped by Starbucks and bought you a five-dollar coffee card and grabbed an empty coffee cup. I put the card in the cup, then came home. When you answered the door, I said, “I know how much you like Starbucks, so I brought you this paper Starbucks cup for you to put coffee in. Do you want me to make you some right now?” “Oh, thanks! I’ll use it for the hot chocolate I just made,” you replied with a comically exaggerated smile. I handed you the cup. You saw the card and shrieked, jumped up and down, and flung your arms around me, hugging me tightly.
November 23, 2011
Sometimes, getting you to take a break from our kids is like getting a cat to take a bath: neither happens without a struggle. On day 51, I tried to give you some time to relax without them but you wanted us to all go out together. That was fine, but breaks are good on occasion. Well, last night, I strongly encouraged you to take one.
When I came home from work, I asked you if you wanted to go read at Starbucks while I watched the kids for a while. Even though you thought it was a great idea and you hugged me for suggesting it, you said, “That’d be fun, but not tonight.” After much conversation, you agreed to staying home and doing something, while I took the girls out somewhere. Before we went out, I looked after the kids while you took a shower. (An uninterrupted shower is actually a big deal when you have three kids under 5.) You came down from your shower and said “Wow, that break was great. Why don’t we all stay together tonight?” “I think you really need this, honey,” I said “You’re right, I do. Okay, take the girls out.” But even as I walked out the door with our kids, you asked if I could leave just one. Eventually, though, I made it out the door with all three kids. We bought soft serve ice cream and hung out. After about an hour, we came home. You loved your break! You made yourself some popcorn and read from Kipling’s The Jungle Book. You looked refreshed.
Later that night, I tried some funny business–I asked you if you’d do the dishes for me, with this thought in my head “Certainly she’ll do it. Look what I did for her earlier.” You said you’d do them, but that you couldn’t get to them until the morning (which was true). “I guess I’ll do them,” I said. As I washed the dishes, I struggled to gain the right perspective on the matter. I know that I should give without expecting to receive, and that by expecting something from you in return, my act wasn’t completely selfless. I pray that God makes me willing to give you everything, even my life, without expecting anything from you in return. I think that the key to loving you in that way is being most satisfied in God (see day 49).
October 18, 2011
Last night, I wanted to spend quality time with you by playing you at cards. In the past, we’ve enjoyed playing card and board games together and have even done this on dates at Starbucks. (Some people take games seriously, but not us–we’d choose LIFE or Chutes and Ladders over Settlers of Catan.) Anyway, you said you were too tired. At first, I thought “what am I going to post on tomorrow if you’re not interested in my loving act?” But then I decided to let you determine what I would do for you. You wanted a back massage. I gave you one, but it was halfhearted partly because I was tired and partly because I wanted to play a game instead. I thought I chose game playing as my loving act because you’d be blessed by it. But perhaps my reasons were selfish.
In committing to this year-long project, I’m committing to serve you and not myself. Forgive me for giving you a halfhearted massage simply because you didn’t want to play cards. (By the way, I’m still going to use my play-a-game idea as one of my loving acts. I’ll pick a night when you’re not so tired.) May I choose each act based on what would bless you rather than me. (Still, I’ll end up being blessed as well! “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”)