Day 3 See it, Name it, Say it.
Yesterday I talked about why I use the word grateful almost every morning during our morning meeting. I shared how I learned to see gratitude in my life. Writing that reminded me of what I did with my parents. See, my family of origin was not what you would call demonstrative. So as an adult, when I would visit, there might be a hug when I got there and usually one when I left. And that was about the extent of expressed affection. I know my parents loved me – they showed it in many ways, but rarely said it. They didn’t name how they felt about me, and I didn’t do it with them, either.
After I got over the shock of Mom’s cancer diagnosis, I decided I would tell them both I loved them every time I interacted with them. A few months into this as I was saying goodbye, I ended with “I love you, Mom. I love you, Dad.” My mom looked at me, paused, and responded, “Are we going to do this every time?” with a kind of a laugh. I looked right back and said, “Yes we are. I need you to know that I love you.” It was MY need to make sure they knew that I loved them. I wanted to say it every chance I got, because I knew that these chances would someday be gone.
Eventually these phrases worked their way into our conversations. I still remember the day I drove away with a big smile (and teary eyes) because Mom said it before I did. After Mom’s death I made sure I continued this with my dad. Again, I remember when he said, “I love you, dear,” before I could, causing me to leave with a huge smile and some teary eyes.
Hm. Maybe I needed to hear it, too.