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?