When my husband and I were engaged, we read Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages. At the conclusion, my husband said to me "Your love language is gifts." I couldn't believe it, and I still refuse to admit that. That seemed to "materialistic" to be my reality. I did not want to be associated with that. Receiving gifts has never been something I enjoy, and not to mention I get super awkward having to open gifts in front of others (read: bridal and baby showers). We do not do much gifting to each other anymore after several years of being together, as we are more in the phase where we enjoy experiences rather than objects. I do not expect gifts from him. How could my husband-to-be think that my love language is gifts?
What he meant by that was that I am a "gifter", and I show my love through giving gifts. Not extravagant or expensive gifts, but small, thoughtful gifts that can easily be sent through the mail. And I appreciate it when others do the same for me. Just enough to let someone know that you love them and are thinking of them. I enjoy the experience of going to the mailbox and opening it up to see what surprise may be inside. I appreciate all the days it took to travel to get to me, and not knowing what type of journey it had. Whether it be a handwritten thank you note, card or a little package, there is something thrilling to me about a tangible piece of someone that you love taking the time to think of you.
And probably more so than receiving, I enjoy the process of creating and sending snail mail to those I love. I am a self-proclaimed stationery nerd. I scour Etsy at all hours looking for personalized stationery with beautiful colors, fonts and graphics. I order personalized holiday cards from Minted every year, and perseverate over the perfect photo layout, font and envelope printing. I purchase beautiful stamps, and downright refuse to use the standard-issue Post Office stamps. I order a variety of personalized return address labels fit for every occasion. I take my packages and envelopes in to the Post Office to mail myself. There is something romantic and nostalgic about seeing a letter or package off personally. When I see or talk to others who share this same appreciation, I feel seen. And if any of you reading this can relate to this level of craziness... you are my people, and you are not alone :)
I realize that this may be totally backwards for some. But what about email? Text? Phone calls? We live in an era of digital communication, so the natural hypothesis would be that keeping in touch with family and friends is easier than ever. While that is true, somehow I still cannot find the time to stay in contact with those I love as much as I'd like to. In a world where instant gratification is our norm, I tend to think that there is a bit of beauty in the effort and the wait associated with snail mail.
This love through snail mail is deep-rooted. When I was little, my grandmother would mail me handwritten cards. When I moved away to college, my mom would send me care packages. When my husband and I were dating long-distance, we would send cards and packages to one another.
Having a child of my own has added a whole other dynamic. This is an art I hope to instill upon him in the future. When he was a few weeks old, I ordered him personalized stationery on Etsy. Crazy, I know. But it also was my way of showing gratitude towards those who had gifted so much to us while we were expecting and new parents. I send Valentines, Halloween cards and postcards from our travels to family and friends far away. Already setting the bar for his future in snail mail.
Someday I will teach him to handwrite thank-you cards after birthdays and holidays. I will use these opportunities to teach him the importance of gratitude and showing love to others. And when he is grown, I hope he will see the value in the time I took to give him these experiences and lessons. I am hopeful that these moments will become part of the grown man I hope he will be; someone who is kind, empathetic and thoughtful. Someone like my husband.
Hi! I'm Laura, a 30-something first-time mom raising her little dude in southern California. It's been quite a first year, and this is my way to try to make sense of it all. This is a safe space for all moms to get some laughs, recommendations and feel like they are not alone.