I learned to love with actions, not words.
I feel fortunate enough that my Father has always been generous with his time and his words. My head is full of his advice and encouragement. But the guidance that has been most formidable is not what he has said directly to me.
On his way home from a hard day’s physical labor, my Dad would often gently snip native flowers, considering colors while bunching his arrays and presenting them humbly to my Mother when he came home.
His whole process was thoughtful; he was thoughtful of the plants he was trimming, careful that he would cut the stems in a way to promote grow-back and careful not affect the aesthetics’ of people’s front gardens. He would rummage to find a bread tie in the glove box, or would keep elastic bands wrapped around his gear stick for such occasions.
I think he kept a small set of hand snippers in his truck so he could assemble a handmade posy at a moments notice. It’s a simple gesture, that says, “I was thinking about you all day,” without words.
My Father is tenderly thoughtful, but not because he wants his romantic gestures to accrue an audience, and not because my Mother seeks gifts for reassurance for his love. I know that he feels humbly lucky, and his actions show that he is unwaveringly grateful.
His greatest advice was in his actions, not his words; that loving my Mother was more than his responsibility, it was his pleasure.
How he loves has taught me everything I know about being a man.