My family has never been good at expressing their feelings to one another. Growing up I’m pretty sure my mom said I love you, I just can’t actually remember. But as my sister and I got older the I love yous got lost in teenage angst and, as far as I can remember, it was rarely said in our teenage years.
It was of course always implied. We knew we were loved but it just never got said out loud. I also never heard I’m proud of you or really any other verbal praises.
Then one day, after I moved out and got married, I started thinking about never seeing my mom again. Or my sister or my grandma. That thought terrified me. So much that it became an obsession. An irrational fear – if you will.
I remember this clearly although I can’t tell you the exact day. I decided that they needed to know that I love them. It was a very out-of-the-box thing for me to do but after visiting my mom, before I left, I turned and said “I love you mom”. I remember the look of shock on her face. She hesitated for a moment and then said it back.
The same thing happened when I said it too my sister. We were never close as kids and still aren’t “besties” now, although we are way closer than we ever were growing up. So saying it to her was way weird. But it was a good weird.
Now every time I see or talk to any of my family I always tell them I love them. Even some of my friends.
Part of me does it out of habit now, but it is a good habit to have. I never want them to have to guess how I feel. It’s still hard for us to express things to each other but at least in the end they know I love them.