Thursday, July 13, 2006

I lo.. you

I love you.

It is easy enough to type but hard for some to say. I include myself in this. I grew up in a family that did not say this to one another. There are four of us in my family of origin and two of us are okay with this and two of us are not as okay with it. I gotta be honest with you, it is just not that important to me to hear the words from my sister or my parents.

They love me. I get it.

When I talk to my Mom on the phone we usually end with, "I'll talk to you later" or something similar. To me this means the same as, "I love you." I do not need to hear the actual words. I cannot speak for her... maybe she will comment (I know she's out there).

My sister is in the other camp. In the last few years she has started adding, "I love you" to her conversations with us on the phone. She would do it to me and I would respond with, "Ok, talk to you later." I really did not mean to be rude, it just caught me off guard while I was already in the process of hanging up the phone. I just figured she didn't get the memo that our family doesn't do that.

Recently my sister and I made yet another attempt to make our relationship a better one. I did an assessment of where the fault laid with me and what I could do about it (a truly eye-opening exercise for since I am the older sister I figured clearly she must be the one in the wrong - wink, wink). I realized that those words were important for her to hear from me so why not say them. So I do. I do not say it every phone call and there is no litmus test as to what kind of conversation I will add it to, but I do say it... and more importantly I mean it.

Recently I have added it to my phone conversations with my Dad, because it seems to be important to him too. It still kind of stuns him a bit which is kind of fun.

In the meantime I say it to my good friends very infrequently and constantly to my husband and The Boy. I know that it will be important for both of us to continue to say it to The Boy even when he is 15 and thinks we are idiots.

A friend of mine told me her husband never says it on the phone because he does not want it to become an empty ritual. This reminded me of the scene from Parenthood when Steve Martin's character said to Mary Beth Steenburgen' character, "I love you." She just nodded and said, "uh-huh."
"No... I mean I really love you."
She looked up from what she was doing and gave him a meaningful look, "I love you too."

When do you say it?
Have you changed your 'I love you' statement pattern from the one of your family of origin?
Can you ever say 'I love you' too much?


Emerald Palace said...

I started saying it with my grandparents a few years ago and then with my dad after the nasty divorce... My husband doesn't for the same reason yours doesn't.

And PLEASE. Don't EVER say it to me. We're cool. No need. Just a fist to the shoulder will suffice.

How are the Yankees doing this year?

Songbird said...

No one said it much in my family, which may be why I like to hear it so often. This was initially a problem for my husband. It's sort of like Communion. Some churches have it every week because it's so important. Some have it four times a year because it's so important. Let's just say he's one of those four times a year guys by nature and I'm ideally a daily communicant. It took a few years but we have reached a comfortable point. I say it a lot. Sometimes he says it back. And when he says it first, woohoo!
Interestingly, when he's away, he will say it readily on the phone. I think that's because he's away for six or more weeks at a time and finally remembered that he used to say it to his mom every time he talked to her on the phone. It's a checking-in statement, not a passionate declaration.
By the way, I had to climb a really hard mountain and get bad blisters and a cut on my leg and really show what I am made of before he said it to me the first time...we later climbed that mountain again to get married. Who says he's not romantic?

will smama said...

No EP, my FRIEND's husband doesn't say it (and I think we both know who he is). My husband does say it.

Don't worry. I would never even touch you. Of course I am from the NE which has a strict no touch or love policy. You on the other hand are in serious danger of having your Southener card revoked.

SB - LOVE it!

hipastorzwife2B said...

My family is quietly affectionate. My husbands family says it, tease each other mercilessly and also yell at each other loudly. And they are a very loving family. It was a clash of family cultures and resulted in a few hurt feeling before we figured out what was going on.

Kathryn said...

My parents said it all the time, to each other and to me, so I kind of assumed it was part of family life. Now I say it every day to the kids (and actually, even the 6' hairy monster that is TeenWonder is cool with that, and says it lots too) and to a small selection of special friends. LongsufferingClockmaker also says it a fair bit,- but my response to that is a whole different issue, which isn't going to clog up your comments box.

Mark Smith said...

I don't say it with my genetic family, but there's a lot of reason behind that (and which I'm not going into here). Suffice it to say that you shouldn't say it unless it's true.

I do say it a lot with my wife, all the time.

What's funny is that I'm used to ending phone calls to my wife with it. Once in a while I screw up and tell it to somebody else - like a co-worker - who is totally unprepared.

will smama said...

Mark, I have ABSOLUTELY done that. On the flip side I have also been in a disagreement with my sister and called her 'honey'. Apparantly that word was not the term of endearment I thought it was.

Carolanne said...

Since my mum passed away 7 years ago, we say it a lot more often around my siblings and dad than we once did.
I say it to my 13.5 year old son and he says it back - every morning before he goes to school and every night before he goes to bed - with a kiss and a hug, too.
I think if you say it because you mean it, (i.e. it's not a habit) it's never too often.

DogBlogger said...

I lucked out. I was in the habit of saying to my mother whenever we parted, so when my sister took me and my nephew to the museum one Friday, that's what I did. I even remember leaning back in the door to do it. And when we came back to find an ambulance in the driveway it turned out that those were my last words to her. Yeah, sounds dramatic enough to be in a soap opera, doesn't it?

So, for the subsequent 18 years and beyond, I say it to anybody who will listen, and to whom I mean it, and some to whom I'm not sure I mean it (but at least in the "Christian love" sense).

Funny that you posted this on the birthday of the sibling from whom I want to hear it most and who says it least; his usual response used to be "okay," but I think he's catching on. Now, if only he would pick up the phone and call me instead of the other way around...