Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Languages You Won't See in the Book

I love reading Jon Acuff's Stuff Christians Like blog. Pretty much guaranteed laughs, with the added bonus that there's almost always something deeper to consider too. Not long ago he posted his family's additions to the classic Five Love Languages. In case you have not been sucked into this particular vortex of relationship wisdom, the five love languages that Dr Leman suggests are Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Gifts.  (5LoveLanguages website) The Acuff family also has love languages that include Sarcasm and Games. After I shared the link on Facebook, my friend Denise wrote a blog post adding some love languages her family speaks - things like Rubber Chicken and Chocolate. She mentioned Sarcasm, which is definitely one of our love languages as well! And so, in honor of Valentines Day, I have compiled my own family's love languages.

1) Food - we speak several dialects of the Food Love Language. These include Bacon (a friend recently gave me a Bacon car air-freshener - she REALLY loves me) and Cheese (highlight of summer vacations include visits to cheese stores and grilled-cheese-only restaurants) as well as the almost universal dialect of Chocolate. When speaking Chocolate, it is important to know what Kind of chocolate will say Love most clearly - I, for example, have a definite preference for Dark Chocolate. In our family, Coffee is also a dialect. It is a celebration of coming of age, and drinking coffee together is an act of solidarity and a declaration of our unity as a family. You see, you have to be thirteen years old to drink coffee in our household. Jewish sons have a Bar Mitzvah, my sons have their first Tim Hortons coffee. Harrison was sure that I had said TWELVE was the magic number, and believe me I heard about it for that entire year until he turned THIRTEEN. He got a Starbucks gift card and was initiated into the world of Tim Horton's coffee too. Spencer didn't make as much fuss about it but didn't hesitate at all when offered his first chance at a mug of Timmy's. Now that Landon is twelve, he is all anxiety for the year to go by so that he too, can drink coffee like a real man. (Although all of my men drink their coffee double-double, and my personal opinion is that if you need to add that much sugar, you're not mature enough to drink the stuff, but that is beside the point...) Anyone who has been to my house also knows that Coca-Cola says "I love you" to members of my family. At least to the hubster and me. Harrison has betrayed the family honor by preferring that other cola. I don't know what we did wrong...

2) Games - the problem with the Games love language is that while we all like games, we don't all like the same kind. The hubs likes Rook, which I have to confess I have never fully understood. I gamely (pun intended) tried to learn, and figured out just enough to fake my way through all those game nights with our friends. But most of the time I felt just a bit stupid, and almost never took the kitty because the one part of the game I couldn't wrap my brain around was bidding. And if you don't understand any of that, don't worry, I still don't. I like all kinds of games, and liked playing Rook too, just so long as the other players all accepted the fact that I hadn't any clue when it came to bidding. The hubs doesn't care for most of the other games that I, or the kids, like to play, but every now and again he humours us by playing. Because he loves us. The kids and I can play Sequence, Scrabble, Sorry, Dominoes, Dutch Blitz, Rummikub, Scattergories... and those are some of my favorite family times.

3) McDonalds Hockey cards - this is a highly specialized love language. We all collect hockey cards, to some extent. Maybe just our favorite teams or players, but everyone in this family has some hockey cards. For the past several years, Canadian McDonalds restaurants have sold packs of a special edition of hockey cards in the fall. My mother-in-law purchases as many of these as she can, and after all the other gifts are opened on Festivus morning, we each get a little gift bag of McDonalds hockey card packs. This is truthishly (more about that word in a moment) the very highlight of Festivus, and I am completely serious about that. We all open our packs - there is a special delight in opening a pack of hockey cards, collectors know what I mean - and then trade our doubles and try to make a full set per person. I don't care if I have a full set, I just want my team and favorite player cards out of the series, so I'll let my doubles go pretty cheaply. My mom and aunts knew that they could pick up some hockey cards at McDonalds and they'd be a guaranteed popular gift for my kids. Something that didn't cost much and was easy to mail (this is important when sending from western Canada to the eastern US) but said "I love you" loud and clear to all of us. A dear friend of ours that moved to Atlantic Canada a couple years ago, but visits relatives here each Christmas would also collect the cards and we traded them. Joy and friendship and happiness!!! And then, inexplicably, McDonalds decided they didn't love us in 2010 - no hockey cards. I hope they realize the huge hole this has left in the fabric of our family Christmas celebrations, and the tradition will be revived in 2011.

4) Singalong music - very simply, we like to sing along to certain songs on the radio while in the van. What makes this interesting is our favorite songs. We have some different musical tastes within the family, but if Dream On by Aerosmith comes on the radio, that is a guaranteed "crank it up and all six of us will sing" moment.  And of course, Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (Wayne's World style!).  Other songs that get full family participation include almost anything by Skillet, and some other stuff by Aerosmith, Journey, and AC/DC. (One of my proud parenting moments was when Kennady was about 5yo, we were on a road trip and had a classic rock station playing quietly, when Kennady said "Turn it up, Dad - I love this song!" and it was AC/DC's " Back in Black" 8-/ 100% true story. In my defense, the words she knew were the Apologetix version, but still...) We also like a lot of TobyMac and Newsboys (Harrison not so much), DecembeRadio, and other Christian bands and worship music. Harrison and I can do a pretty spot-on version of Lady Antebellum. And some other country stuff. We are also most likely to turn up Ozzy, Metallica, and Rush. It's strange, but singing along to this varied mix of music together makes for some unexpected bonding.

5) Family catch-phrases and words - I think every family has some kind of running joke or catch-phrase that has developed over the years. But maybe we have more than our share, I'm not sure. We have some movie and TV quotes that get used a lot. When Landon was younger, he used to spout off some pretty random lines that were really hilarious and they get repeated to this day. A childish mispronunciation of a word becomes part of the family lexicon (we still put 'ratbutt' on our hot dogs, believe it or not that was how it came out when one of the boys was trying to say 'ketchup.' Or was it 'mustard'...), as do our own made-up words. Harrison made up the word "truthishly" awhile ago, and that's been added to our unofficial family dictionary. We have running jokes and a word game that goes something like this: "if you last name was ------- (e.g. Case), would you name your kid ------ (e.g. Justin)?" I just wish we'd written down some of those names.

Family traditions are a kind of love language, and I guess they don't necessarily have to be the sentimental or elaborate things to be a tradition. sometimes the traditions that tie us together as family are things that are silly and fun. Many years ago now, my Mom tried to take a picture of the family as we were gathered around the table for Christmas dinner. Thinking it goofy, and not really wanting to be in the picture, some of us kids froze for the picture with a fork halfway to an open mouth or a glass at our lips. That goofy dinner pose has become a long-standing tradition with my family. We have been posing that way for a family dinner picture for over 25 years now, and the in-laws and grandchildren play along too. The family birthday song has become a tradition. For reasons that we no longer recall, every family birthday that rolls around is an opportunity for the rest of us to sing what we hope will be the ugliest ever rendition of the birthday song. Nowadays this usually comes in the form of a phone call, with the singers all gathered around doing their best/worst to completely butcher the song, and the honored birthday guest and their family listening and laughing on the other end. Yeah, it's weird, but a birthday wouldn't really be complete without that song. On the other side of the family, we have that whole McDonalds hockey cards on Christmas morning tradition.

Do you have some unique love languages?  Or family traditions?

Speaking of family traditions... I need to get the kids together so we can call my Mom and sing "Happy Birthday"  8-)


Loretta said...

Humorous and insightful, as always. Thanks for the little peek into your family traditions; you've got me thinking about ours . . . But I'll have to get back to you on specifics; it's too early in the morning :-)

This Blog Needs A Title… » Blog Archive » Mission Accomplished – mostly… said...

[...] in the preceding paragraph. It’s a family quirk. Visit my other blog and read about our family love languages - it’s one of those inside joke things, although I don’t reference this one specifically [...]

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