See it, Name it, Say it

I’m hoping to blog every day of March for Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers.

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.

Categorized as Linda

By Greg&Linda

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  1. This is such a poignant slice. As I come from an undemonstrative family, I can totally relate to it. It’s only been the past year or so since my Dad and I began to say “I love you” when we end a phone conversation. I think we all need to hear it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had tears in my eyes reading this. This is such a touching post. I recently lost my father-in-law, and I make sure I constantly am saying the words, “I LOVE YOU,” to many of my loved ones. Thank you for for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how tenderly you wrote about this. Marriage was a huge adjustment for me because I came from a very demonstrative family, but my husband did not. It has taken a long time for me to understand. Families are different, but expressing love is so important to our well-being. I’m glad you were able to open your family to greater expression of the love that was always there.

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  4. We have always done this with our sons and I love that it is not awkward for them now as young adults. I sense it might be new for our daughter-in-laws as we say good-bye at the end of our video chats but they have both embraced it. So glad you were able to have those experiences with your parents.

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  5. This is such a big idea! Thanks for capturing it. I didn’t realize this was so different for people until my daughter commented that her best friend never says it to her parents. Such a special way to connect. You just may have inspired my own slice for today. I was struggling to know what to write. Thank you!

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  6. I feel this so much. I grew up in a relatively undemonstrative family. I raise my children as such. It was only in the past few years that I’ve become more open with my sons in physical hugs and saying the words. I was stunned and so touched one odd day when my youngest admitted on facebook of all places that he was a mama’s boy. Yes, you need to say it and hear it too. It really does mean something.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a powerful slice! You’ve inspired me to be more deliberate in what I say to the folks I love and the folks who have helped me become what I am. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an important slice!
    I selected “gratitude” as my OLW a few years ago. It changed my outlook and the way I walk through my life. I adore that you’re sharing this at morning meetings. Kids need to practice gratitude, especially now when it’s hard.

    Liked by 1 person

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