My three teenagers wake up at 5:45 for school every morning. It’s just enough time for them to lie in bed for a moment, get up to eat, then get themselves ready for a long day of learning.
I get up with them and one by one, as they file down the stairs, I ask them how they slept and I tell them I love them. Everyone should hear that first thing in the morning.
Then, as they leave I say it again. Everyone should hear that as they are walking out the door about to get into a car.
I tell them I love them if we are texting and saying goodbye. It’s the best way to end a conversation. I think anyway.
I say the three words before hanging up the phone and tucking them in bed. I express my love for them if they are going through a hard time or doing something funny.
It annoys them now that they are older. They usually say “I love you too,” but there are times they roll their head back (not just their eyes, but their whole head) and say, “I know Mom! You tell me all the time.”
There are those who don’t like to use those words too liberally because they think the phrase will lose its meaning. I’m not one of those people.
I’ve never experienced the kind of love I have for my children. It’s unconditional in every sense of the word. There’s no other way I can express those emotions then to say it to them over and over. Even if I tried to pull it back and not say it so much, I don’t think I could pull it off. It seems to pour out of me when it comes to my kids.
Each time I say it, I am conscious and I mean it with all of my being. I’m realizing as my kids are getting older, they are becoming more dependent, and my years of living with them are closing in, there are less ways for me to show my love to them.
The evenings of taking them to a movie and baking cookies with them are spread thin. They have their own personal lives now and they rarely want to be home. They don’t need to do as much for them. They lean on their friends more than they lean on me for advice and comfort.
I remember doing the same thing and I try not to take their absence personally. I guess telling them I love them as much as I do helps me bridge the gap I feel wedging us apart.
It helps me cement the feelings I have for them. It’s a good substitute for going on about how much they mean to me and they are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. But, I think about that every time I say the words “I love you” to my kids whether they are being yelled up the stairs, or sent through a text.
So, whether this continues to annoy them has no bearing on me expressing myself. I’ll always tell my kids how much I love them. I just will. You can never tell someone you love them too much, I don’t care what my teenagers bark at me.
And someday, if they become a parent, they will know exactly what I’m talking about.