Several years ago, James surprised me with a date to Hawaii. He and the kids had schemed together to make it “just right” and all of their eyes were aglow as the time approached. When the date came, we didn’t board an airplane or even see the sun. We did tuck the kids in bed and then descend the steps to our unfinished basement where a can of Glade Hawaiian Breeze spray had been used liberally and fancy drinks were waiting. Although we had an enjoyable evening together, there were some thoughts of “ . . . real Hawaii . . . cheesy . . . really -- this? . . .” I went back and forth between trying to accept the love gift as it was intended and finding fault in all that it was not. This can of Glade has stayed in our house since then and every time it surfaces I get to choose my response “Ughh!” or “Aaah!” I can either roll my eyes and get disgruntled about what it isn’t, or I can cherish what it is.
Yesterday school was cancelled here due to extreme cold temperatures. I spent all day at home with the kids until evening when I got some time out for a Relief Society meeting. When I was home, and the kids were tucked into bed, I went into our room and immediately smelled – you guessed it! – Hawaiian Breeze. James had sprayed it all over our room in an attempt to escape the present and let us spend a few quiet minutes in warm Hawaii before the reality of a frozen shower and cold night and another day home from school intervened. Since the first night of Hawaiian Breeze I like to think I’ve grown in accepting love. The “Aaah!” response comes much more quickly than the “Ughh!” response. I’ve learned that there is very little to gain in saying “Ughh!” and much to be gained in saying “Aaah!” And really, it doesn’t take much time, effort, money, or even “doing something back”. All it takes is an open, understanding heart. It takes seeing the gesture through the eyes of the person who sent it.
So as I go through the days receiving one more slobbery kiss from a two-year-old that requires a sponge to clean up, or one more ‘love note’ from a daughter after a mess of paper, glue, tape, and markers, or even a poorly timed, slightly offensive comment from a Relief Society sister I try to see the gestures through the eyes of those who sent them and respond in love as well. Aaah!