Small acts of love can mean the most

We are coming to the end of a time of sickness in our house. As I fall into bed each night, I wonder why I’m completely exhausted.

Then I think back over the day to the cans of soup I cooked and served, the bottles I filled and refilled with Gatorade, the Popsicles I pulled out of the freezer, the tissues I collected, and the temperatures I took.

That’s not even counting the number of times I’ve dug the remote control out of the couch cushions.

I’m always happiest when everyone is healthy. But I have to admit that there’s something gratifying about parenting during a time of sickness. There’s no doubt that my husband and I have to kick into high gear and actively embrace our role as parents. And it takes me back to when our sons were younger and required almost constant hands-on care.

Especially now that our boys are older and need me a little less for the simple tasks—and more for the big-kid challenges—I treasure the occasional simplicity of being asked to meet basic, ordinary needs.

One day our sons may think back on how we worked to give them a comfortable home, an outstanding education, and a strong foundation in our faith. But I think sometimes what they will remember best is how we fed them and hugged them and tucked them in with a kiss.

It’s those small thoughtful gestures of love in marriage that speak most to me, too.

There’s nothing like reaching blindly into the soap dish in the shower and realizing that my husband has left a brand-new bar for me.

He borrows my car and fills it up with gas.

He picks up my favorite kind of San Pellegrino and stocks the fridge.

He calls me late in the afternoon on a workday and says, “I don’t want you to have to cook tonight.”

He does so many large, important things for me and for our family all the time, and I absolutely appreciate them. But I often think that the small actions, the little kindnesses, are the ones that touch your heart in a special way.

The truth is that more than 15 years into marriage, with full lives that require a precarious juggling act at times, I really cherish the little moments when we can smile and laugh. And I treasure those small acts of everyday thoughtfulness.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, maybe we can keep in mind that we don’t need to give people we care about new cars or diamonds or anything extravagant to show them we love them. We can show our affection for the people in our lives by sharing our love in small ways through simple, heartfelt gifts of our time and ourselves.

Joining The Myth Retold and Born of Wonder for their Tremendous Trifles link-up. Click on over to read other beautiful, thoughtful posts.

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.