Special to Me

Now that winter, with its dry air, has arrived, my kids and I have added something new to our bedtime routine. After reading stories, I get out my “special lotion,” and I massage their little cracked and bleeding knuckles. Last night, as I was rubbing her hands, my five-year-old daughter asked me, “Why is your lotion ‘special,’ Mom?”

“Because it’s an expensive hand therapy,” I explained, “And my teacher gave it to me when I graduated.”

Her brow furrowed. “Oh,” she said. Then, after a short pause, she added, “I thought it was because you rubbed it on the hands of people who are special to you.”

“Yes, yes,” I said, hurriedly. “You’re right. That’s also why it’s ‘special lotion.’”

She didn’t smile, though. Instead, she looked up at me with her earnest hazel eyes. “How am I special to you, Mom?”

Tears came to my eyes as I looked at my little girl, so eager to be told that she is loved, that she is unique. I gathered her close and whispered in her ear some of the many ways in which she is special to me.

When I left her room, I thought about the money I’d spent this week, buying Christmas gifts that will show my kids how special they are when I clearly need to tell them directly as well. And, as I read my scriptures last night, I thought also about my own relationship with my Father in Heaven, how so many years ago, He gave the ultimate gift because of His belief in the worth of my own soul. I thought also about how I still desperately crave small, spiritual reassurances from Him that He is pleased with me and with my efforts.

How do you show the people in your life whom you love that they are special to you?

In what ways do you feel like Heavenly Father communicates that same message to you as His child?
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About Catherine

(Prose Board) has worked as a cherry sorter, file girl, piano teacher, writer, editor, and college professor. She currently works full-time as the art director, events planner, chauffeur, and referee for her four children. She spends a good deal of her time running—be it down the supermarket aisle after an escaped child, around the living room in a heated game of flag football, or on early-morning runs/therapy sessions with her neighborhood friends. She earned her BA and MA in English from BYU and her PhD in English from UMass Amherst.

14 thoughts on “Special to Me

  1. As far as gift-giving…I try to take note of comments people make of things that they would like, or which would make their lives easier, or service that they stand in need of, and do that for them when I can. Most of my gifts are have, out of necessity, come from the heart more than the bank account, but I hope they indicate that I’m aware of the person, that I listen, and care.

    I think that one of the most fabulous ways Heavenly Father has blessed me is by putting amazing friends and associates in my life. I am surrounded by greatness and goodness and examples of Christlikeness. And he blessed me with a husband who loves me and children that are good-hearted. These specific blessings are among my most treasured.

    We have cracked, red, dry hands that I put “special lotion” (or, in some cases, slathered on A&D ointment topped with rubber gloves while sleeping–for intensive treatment) at our house, too. ♥

  2. A few years ago our Relief Society Book Focus Group read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Although I’d more or less already figured out what made my husband feel loved, it provided a lot of insight on how to connect with my children and let them know, in their own love languages, that I appreciate and adore them.

    My oldest daughter needs quality time, my second acts of service, one of my twins physical touch and the other words of affirmation.

    My youngest needs sparkly, poofy dresses, but that isn’t in the books. Would that be “gifts?”

    I think they all need all those way of being loved, though. The big ones still like cuddles, and even my twins, who are so happy in each other’s company, benefit from one-on-one time with mom.

    As for feeling love from my Heavenly Father, it’s in the quiet moments, when I’ve silenced my inner critic and am feeling grateful for this house full of girls, that I am often overwhelmed with a sense that He is aware of my efforts and appreciates them.

  3. Yesterday I was cleaning out a cupboard and found the February 2009 edition of the Ensign. The cover article was exactly what I needed yesterday. Things like that — tender mercies — are what remind me that God knows my name.

  4. In what ways do you feel like Heavenly Father communicates that same message to you as His child?

    Why, just today I had the distinct message come to me that He loves me even though I don’t think I’m measuring up.
    Softly.
    I was glad I was listening.

  5. Just last night after saying a prayer that was unfortunately a little too similar to the one I said the night before, I paused. I asked for what I needed, to know that even though I was having a string of days that I’d rather forget that He was still listening and ready to answer me. And I got an answer immediately. I love the Holy Ghost… so so much.

  6. Time spent together as a family is of greater worth than any gift, no matter how much it costs. Out of everything I’ve ever received from anyone, the most precious to me is their love.

    The assertion and the affirmation that we matter to people–I look to God Himself and I see that will never change in its importance or its weight. He loves us because there is not a single thing in this world or in the next that is more valuable, more important, than love. If there was something else, He would’ve given that to us too.

  7. We are struggling financially like many people today. Christmas is going to be very simple this year. I have been praying to find ways to make ends meet so our children can have a nice christmas. I have wanted to buy my soon to be boy scout a really nice sleeping bag for winter camps etc….yesterday I found a very high quality sleeping bag for $10 (normally $149). That was a direct answer to my prayer the night before. So thankful that my Heavenly Father cares about my children!

  8. Stephanie, I like thinking abut showing love in different ways and needing love shown in all those ways. And I agree that moments of gratitude, when I am showing love to my Heavenly Father, help me in return feel His love.

    Jenny, yes, listening is key. How come I forget to listen and pay attention? It seems like something that should be easy . . .

    Carrie, yes, in the past when I have needed to feel Heavenly Father’s love and haven’t been able to consistently, I have asked for priesthood blessings. There, I always get direct responses that I cling to.

    Cheryl, yay for a great deal and for an answer to prayer!

  9. This is such an important question. I worry that I am often too short in showing love to my kids and yet that is most important to me. It is hard for me to always recognize their needs in the right moment.

    I’m grateful for a husband who shows he loves me in lots of ways–dishes help & laundry among them.

    And I’m grateful also that my Father in Heaven kindly offers me words of affirmation when I need them.

    Thanks for reminding me to focus on showing my kids (especially my daughters) how special they are. As the sixth kid growing up I often felt ignored and struggle to know how not to repeat what I knew.

  10. Ever since I was a little girl I have liked surprising my Mom with a clean room. I remember sneaking out of bed as a 5 year old to clean my room at night, relishing the thought of my mother coming in and being pleased and surprised in the morning. Things haven’t changed- it’s more than twenty years later now and I cleaned the kitchen tonight while my mom was out. The whole time I smiled to myself knowing how happy she would be when she got home late and saw she didn’t have to do anything but go to bed.

    I do this because I want to reciprocate the love my mom gives me. I know my Heavenly Father loves me because if my mother loves me, even when I sin, how much more must my Father in Heaven who is perfect love me. I am just beginning to understand since becoming a mother myself the depth of love a parent can have, especially a perfect Heavenly parent. I look at my son and I know how Heavenly Father loves me.

  11. Your experience with your five year old reminds me of my daughter (almost five). She loves the personal attention of putting on lotion, or nail polish, or when I curl and fix her hair. I finished reading with a desire to make all children know they are special to me by how I act, not just what I say. I do try, and this was a great reminder to me how each child is different and needs different things.
    Thanks so much for this.

  12. From my perspective the thing I do that shows my love for my children is asking for their forgiveness when I’ve been wrong or mean. It didn’t happen when I was a child and it led me to think horrid things about myself.

    Very personal answers to prayers are the way God helps me feel loved. As I was praying about how to deal with a busy week, a thought popped into my head that I should rest the next morning. That is not the answer I expected. I expected to get some great idea about multi tasking. Instead God told me that how I take care of myself is important.

    I also received an insight into a family situation while reading my scriptures. When I am rewarded for obedience in that way I feel God’s love for me through his commandments and resultant blessings.

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