A couple weeks ago, Raegan asked for a hug then smiling up at me said, “I love you, Mama!” and of course, I melted and my voice squeaked out three octaves higher when I mustered back, “Aww, I love you, too!!”
It melted my heart and made me think about the weight of those words, which my kids have heard every day since they were born. Obviously they must understand that there is some kind of emotion behind those words, and that we can show love. Ella loves to give hugs and pat your back, which I always thought of as her way of saying, “good job, Mama. You got this.”
I don’t remember when Braeden first said it, but no doubt it killed me with cuteness when he did. With Buds and Raegan I never really thought about if they would say I love you, just mostly when. But with Ella, I wondered. I wondered if she would say it to me, or if I would have to make do with her showing her love through giggles, pats, and hugs.
Last night, I stood outside the girls’ door and listened to Raegan shouting “Ella! Ella! I love you! I love you, Ella Bella!” and there really are no words that properly express how much heart clutching and lip pouting I did while I listened to Raegan telling her sister she loved her and Ella giggling hysterically. And as I did, I wondered more. Will Ella say it? Won’t she? Is it dumb to worry about it?
Then, at dinner tonight, Ella, giggling, said to Raegan, “I love you!” and I wish I was Zach Morris and could have stopped time while I basked in the moment and soaked it up forever and ever, but just her saying it, and knowing what it means, and Raegan giggling along and smiling her toddler sized smile at me really filled my heart, much like the Grinch’s swells three times the size.
It seems selfish to post this, to focus on this, when there are so many parents who will never hear I love you from their kids in any capacity. And my heart breaks for them because it’s what we all need, even when we don’t think we do, even when we think we’re strong, or above it. We need those three little words, and we need to know that our kids love us, but that most importantly, they always know how much we love them.