This is the story, as Paul told it to me.
On Valentine’s Day afternoon, Paul went out to the florist to purchase two dozen roses for me. He came home and put all the roses in vases, except TWO roses that he set aside. He cut the two roses and placed them in a small vase with baby’s breath and a little water.
He called for Gracie to come into the kitchen. As she approached him, he went down on one knee in front of her and said “Gracie, you are now six years old and so for this Valentine’s Day, I want to be the first man to give you flowers and tell you I love you.” And he gave her the vase with the two roses in it.
Gracie looked at the flowers and said “Ok Daddy” (seemingly unaffected) and ran off to play!!!
Paul laughed and looked over at our nanny Shauna who was also laughing and wiping tears from her eyes as she said “That was SO beautiful!”
Paul had tears in his eyes too. Tears of fulfillment and love. Because he GAVE his love to his daughter and created an experience!
Here’s the teaching moment….for YOU.
Paul is expertly trained on giving love! He is the “love giving master.” Paul was completely UNATTACHED to Gracie having a particular reaction to him. Thank goodness, because Gracie seemed to not care at all!
Paul was not “let down” by this experience. He didn’t feel that the special moment he wanted to create for his daughter was ruined or a disappointment. Not one bit.
Because Paul’s experience of GIVING his love to Grace in that moment was complete! Just as he planned it to be! He GAVE her his love and created that magic moment for her. He did not NEED her reaction to him to be a certain way in order for him to feel fulfilled, successful, or happy with the outcome.
This is where SOOOO many people, including myself many years ago, SUFFER. They give their love, give a gift or create an experience for someone and either consciously or unconsciously they NEED a certain reaction or response from that person to complete their happiness about what they gave!
That’s NOT giving sweetie! That’s bartering or trading. You are giving to get!
And what’s worse, you have a preconceived notion of what their response to you should be (duh!) and they are completely unaware of your unspoken rules about how they need to respond for you to be happy with the experience of giving to them! OY!
Is it any wonder so many people are let down, disappointed or depressed after a holiday!
This Valentine’s Day was SO special for Paul because he created that moment for Gracie. He will always be the first man who gave her flowers and said “I love you” on Valentine’s Day. And he is creating her “standard” for how she should be cherished by a man who loves her.
Just to let you know. The next morning I was in her room and commented on how beautiful her roses from Daddy looked on her dresser. And her smile was so BIG her face could barely contain it. She exuded so much PRIDE from her eyes and everything about her screamed how special she felt about getting flowers from Daddy. She kept those flowers in her room until way past the day they withered. She would not part with them. In the end, those flowers meant a LOT more to her than she let on in the moment that she had the “new” and “surprising” experience with Paul. It took her time to feel what she felt about them, and she never really said anything about it, that’s just not her way. But it meant a LOT to her.
If instead of being completely unaffected by Grace’s reaction Paul had got all huffy or disappointed that he planned this grand gesture and she didn’t seem to care. If he made some kind of sarcastic or gruff comment or rolled his eyes or caused a “stink”…then Gracie would have never gotten to have such a special experience of his gift in her own time. The “gift” moment would have been long forgotten and all she would ever remember is how unhappy her Dad was with her.
Of course, Paul is a grown man and it would seem ridiculous to do that with a kid. Although as parents we often put up a “stink” when our kids don’t “appreciate” the things we do, so maybe not SO ridiculous.
But perhaps you can think of a time when you gave someone a gift and it resulted in YOU being disappointed or unhappy with the outcome?
Maybe, like Grace, they would have come to have a very special experience of your gift if the gesture wasn’t completely steamrolled by the “stink” that followed?
GIVING….means to GIVE without expectation of what you get in return!
In next week’s blog, I’ll share the second part of this story, when Gracie asked me about all the things that Daddy did for ME for Valentine’s Day! That conversation is WHY I do the work that I do….we are teaching our kids how to BE in an intimate relationship! And I bet you anything in the world that what I taught my daughter in that moment is something that you have NEVER told your child and no one ever told you!!!! Just guessing!