My parents have always been very demonstrative in showing their emotions toward us. Even my dad, who says way less and feels way more, has told us time and again that we, his kids, are the center of his world. My mom on the other hand is very vocal and sometimes dramatic about her display of emotions for us. She is too cute about it. So I have grown up in a family where we have always told each other how much we loved them - in words, actions, directly & indirectly - in every which way.
Over the years, I had taken this expressive personality trait for granted. But as I moved away from my family, I started to pay attention to people around me and their family dynamics. Being expressive about ones’ emotions for their family members isn't as common a feature as I grew up thinking it was. In fact, several years ago, one of my friends mentioned to me that my family is overly expressive and somewhat dramatic in sharing our feelings for each other. It didn't seem like a compliment back then, but I can’t imagine growing up any other way.
When we were kids we had a lot of decorative and fancy stuff in the house. But one specific decorative piece that has stayed in my mind till date is a poster of a little boy with puppies around him with text on it that says “If you love somebody, show it…” It was one of my favorite things in our house growing up.
|I found the image here|
Siddharth and I often discuss and have very different attitude on this topic. Siddharth being his boisterous self is very expressive in a lot of ways. But he doesn't always talk about his deepest sensitive feelings for people, almost ever. I know him really well and both of us understand a lot of what is unsaid between us. But I have also noticed that he is thoroughly misunderstood, and quite unfortunately by people closest to him. These folks don’t think he cares for or loves them as much because he doesn't call them or doesn't do stuff that would show that he cares. I know he cares for them because of his actions toward these people even when they are not around, not listening to him, and not aware of what he has to say. But he refuses to do anything to show them that he does care. He believes that he doesn't have to be a certain someone or someway for these people to love him or feel close to him. While this is an excellent point, I know it doesn't happen that way and people oftentimes need a proof of love. I tell him that maybe he should explicitly show them that he cares for and loves them so that they know it too. But he insists that it would mean that they want him to someone he is not for them to love him, and he doesn't believe that he needs to do that. Siddharth is one of the most genuine people I have met. He deeply cares for his people, no matter what they say or do or feel toward him. He is in fact way more genuine and caring than some people who are very demonstrative in nature. As awful as I feel about him being misunderstood by people close to him, I do agree with his philosophy. And there is nothing I can tell him in response to this thought of not changing his fundamental personality trait so he can be loved.
So I sit here at my home, with plenty of free time while I am on my maternity leave, wondering if it is really important to show that you love someone. While I am all for showing and displaying, I can’t imagine Siddharth being this way. When I got married to Siddharth, I did not have a list of characteristic traits that I was looking for in a man. I never made that list. Nor did I ever make a list of good and bad in him. I don’t work like that and I can’t be that calculative. In fact, I don’t even know what that list could look like. But I do know that I fell for the kind of person he is – the whole package. These eight years of marriage have taught me that there is a lot of give and take in a marriage, a lot of meeting halfway, a lot of 'you change in this aspect' and 'I will change in that'. Once we were committed to each other, it didn't really matter what changes the other person made, or did not make. The changes we made in us seemed worth it because it made our relationship and us as individuals flourish. That said, there are aspects of our personality that remained absolutely unchanged and we both accept each other with all the changes and non-changes.
The thing I would never change about him though is his take on relationships. He loves his people absolutely unconditionally. He doesn't expect anything in return, not even for them to love him back. He doesn't think he needs to be a certain way for them to truly love him back. He may not explicitly show that he loves them, but when it comes to key decisions in life – he stands by them, for them, and with them. I, for one, would love to be loved that way.
This past week we celebrated our eighth marriage anniversary. Since Rehan was mere 30 days old, I didn't really feel like leaving him home alone. Not yet anyway. I also didn't get a chance to buy Siddhu a gift as I haven’t really left our home since Rehan has been born. Siddharth has also been quite preoccupied & busy over this last month as we learn to figure out the logistics with 2 babies in our home! Siddharth made our anniversary super special by cooking my favorite meal for me. That made my day and made up for an excellent celebration for us. Later in the week, I told Siddhu “we are not like a lot of lovey-dovey showy-vowy kind of couples who shower each other with gifts and flowers and stuff in general. Do you think we still have the spark that makes us tick…” Without thinking even for a second, he said that he thought about it too, but in the exact opposite way. He was quite amazed by the fact that we are so comfortable with each other and are so intertwined in each other’s thoughts and lives that we didn't need explicit and overt display to prove our love and 8 years of marriage. He said that we cherish and enjoy simple things in life far more than big major things or events. He is absolutely right. I have made it amply clear that he need not wait for a special occasion to give me gifts ;). So now he doesn't. Our celebrations are more about being there with each other and for each other, and more importantly about small little acts that show that we know what the other person likes and values. We both value our family and spending time with each other :)!
I have no idea how Samaira and Rehan will be in this particular personality trait. But sometime in the last few days I promised to myself, no matter what their attitude in this regard is, whether or not they show and demonstrate their feelings to me – I will love them equally, always. They could be diametrically opposite in their behavior and that wouldn't impact the extent of my love for them, even one bit. And I will show them that I love them both, equally. If I truly love someone, they will know it without an ounce of doubt in their minds that I love them. But that’s just me. I know it doesn't work this way for everyone, and that's ok.