Shannon here: Jennifer Slattery shares insight in a legacy of love plus a chance to pick winner’s choice of her women’s fiction titles: Beyond I Do, When the Dawn Breaks, or Intertwined. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated Jan 11 – 14 to enter the drawing. Deadline: Jan 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jennifer:
Sitting in my mom-in-law’s hospital room, watching my father-in-law care for her and speak gently to her, I was taken aback at how much of my husband I saw in him. They used different words, but the meaning conveyed was the same: love. Self-sacrifice. Care. Giving. Tenderness.
He’d been at the hospital, first in the ER waiting room, then in the ICU, then in my mom-in-law’s hospital room, for some 36-hours. That’s rough, for the both of them, and sometimes in the rough, people can get crabby. At least, that’s how I fear I’d respond. But whenever his lack of sleep or long time spent at the hospital was mentioned, my father-in-law would always cut the person off with an, “It’s no problem. Not a problem.”
My husband’s typical response in similar situations? “I’m good. We’re good.”
I learned a lot that day, about what it means to love. But I also learned a lot about what it means to teach love. Because here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure when my husband was growing up, my father-in-law never sat him down and said, “This is how you love a woman.”
And yet, my husband learned. From watching my father-in-law love my mother-in-law, day in and day out, decade after decade. And I’m oh, so grateful.
This made me wonder what we’re teaching, intentionally and unintentionally, to our daughter. Thinking of this, my husband and I decided to leave her with a gift, a gift of love remembered.
My husband and I are shoppers. We love finding things to commemorate special trips or events. It started on our honeymoon, while we were in Hawaii. Somehow, while perusing Kailua-Kona, we stumbled upon a Wyland art Gallery. Chalk it up to young love and the overflowing pocketbook that often comes with it, but we walked away with a beautiful dolphin acrylic. And whenever we look at it, we remember—the long, moonlit beach walks, the luau we enjoyed, the snorkeling that nearly made me hyperventilate.
Then came our first weekend away, post-baby, without baby, and we headed to San Diego. We were living in Southern California at the time, so the trip was short and relatively inexpensive. Until we stumbled into another gallery, walking out with yet another acrylic.
This past December, my husband took me to Omaha’s Christmas at the Symphony, and the next day, as we were unpacking our things, he grabbed our ticket stubs and said, “I need to put these in my ticket album.”
Because he’s sentimental like that, except I didn’t know. I didn’t know he’s been saving movie and concert tickets, and even those silly little heart-shaped notes I like to tuck into his lunches and work pants pockets.
Once I learned about this, an idea blossomed—what if, along with those notes and all the artwork accumulated over our 20 years of marriage, we left a note for our daughter telling the story behind them? Something for her to treasure once we’re gone.
Committed love is one of the best gifts we parents can give to our children, not just our love for them, but our love for one another.
Question for readers: What about you? Did you grow up in a two-parent home, and if so, what are some of the love-legacy gifts your parents have left you with? If you’re married, what are some love-legacy gifts you hope to leave with your children? Remember what I shared, about the similarities I saw in my husband and father-in-law? Isn’t it interesting how much of our behavior, relationally, is learned by watching? Who’s taught you the most about love?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
About Jennifer: Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte
About the book – Intertwined: Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
Come back Jan 15th for Jennifer’s excerpt!