What is family for? We all take each other for granted every now and again, thinking we will always have each other to laugh with, share a meal with, cry with, or call for endless conversations about how random life can be. We know how much we love each other, we even speak the love words when ending conversations, or we follow it with emoticons in virtual conversations. We do realize how much we love each other, right?
I think we do. But here is the thing, we love each other for more than just hereditary qualities, biological glue or familiarity. How often do we tell our family why we love them?
When was the last time you said to your brother or sister that you love talking to them on the phone because they make you laugh or because they’re a good listener? When was the last time you told your mother or father that you enjoy visiting them because they comfort you and make you feel loved and at home? When was the last time you told your son or daughter that you like them and love them? We are all pretty good at saying “I love you” but we aren’t all that great at letting our loved ones know why we love them.
Mr.T, I know I reference him often, but he is a genius you know, always asks me how come I love him so much, how come I love Little A, or how come Daddy loves me so much, or why does Uncle love Auntie so much?
Rather than looking shallow, I look dumbfounded for a few moments. I always find an answer for my little therapist. I do know why I love him and his sidekick Little A so much, and I tell him.
Because you’re you (I’m sure every kid who has ever heard this is rolling their eyes, but wait I’m not finished.)
Because you’re you, you are smart and silly. You have a soft and thoughtful heart that speaks to mine. You are amazing in the way that makes you one of a kind. You make me laugh when I need too, you make me think deeply when I should, you ask me questions that stir up my soul and make me look at you with understanding. Because you touched the hearts of so many people with your quirky, loving, and exuberant personality. Because you are a bigger part of me than even I know yet. You, Mr.T and you Little A are outstanding reasons to love.
When he asks me why Daddy loves me so much, I have to think. I know there are endless reasons (I am tooting my own horn here, bear with me) but I haven’t asked him in a very long time, not since we had one of those deep conversations while we lay in bed and one of us was asleep and the other was contemplating everything from the formation of the universe to the reasons why we love each other. I tell Mr.T it is partially because I have ‘back eyes’ which every mother has, this makes good sense to him, so I leave it at that. But ultimately, I know it’s because I am incredibly awesome at being me, take it or leave it.
I tell him the reasons why I love Daddy so much. He thinks mainly it has to do with how very cool his father is, because he drives a work truck and climbs on tall poles and uses big tools. I tell him that is only part of the reason, but that because Daddy touched my heart with his soft hand and showed Mommy how to love and be loved, because Daddy is very good at making Mommy feel safe, comforted, and secure. I tell him that Daddy is also very goofy and makes me laugh even when I feel like being mad and that Daddy is very good at making sense of things, especially when Mommy is feeling vulnerable and confused.
He doesn’t ask more, but I find it necessary to continue on this “why i love…” path.
I tell him why I love my family, like his Aunties. I tell him (and he probably stopped listening at this point), that I love his Aunties because they made me their sister and took me in and gave me friendship and love and sister-hood. Because we have private talks that sometimes have no purpose, no beginning or ending, that because we can be strong for each other and feel scared with each other. Because sometimes it’s just a look, a subtle change in our voices and we just ‘know’. I tell him that there is sometimes no better friendship, than the ones right under our noses. This is too much a metaphor for him, so I explain.
So, in case you didn’t know, my friends out there here is why I love you; we are on the same page even when we haven’t spoken in months, our conversations diverge like a labyrinth and still we find multiple routes to keep us going. You make me think about life, about being a better person all the time. Because you are strong, and you inspire me, and because you are always there to I lift me up and always there to let me do the same for you.
Tell the ones closest to you why you love them, it’s different from ,
“I love you.”