Home > General > Do You Say I Love You Enough To Your Children?

Do You Say I Love You Enough To Your Children?

“May Is For Mothers” is minutes from being over and I want to make sure I get one last post in.

I had 2 precious hours alone on Mother’s Day this year,which is no small feat. When I mentioned this to a friend her response was, “Oh, I’d feel bad if I left my kids on a day I was supposed to be celebrating motherhood.” Hmm. Who said Mother’s Day was supposed to be about guilt – don’t we have enough of that day-to-day? With two toddlers and a special needs child time alone is something incredibly rare (seriously, think a couple of hours every few months), and being pregnant, alone time is only going to become more scarce. I like to think of my hours away as “time to recharge so I can be a happy mom again,” rather than “escaping my kids on Mother’s Day.”

Then this past week a mom confessed to me that she didn’t feel she said “I love you” enough to her kids because she was often too stressed out dealing with the “everyday crap” to think about “being nice.” I thought about that long after we parted ways, and if I had been a little quicker on my feet I would’ve said this to her:

As the mother of a special needs child who says “I love you” no less than 50 times per day (no exaggeration) I sometimes feel guilty for not saying it back every time, or worse yet telling him “okay, that’s enough, let’s talk about something different.”  And there are definitely days where the only time I say “I love you” to my other kids is when I’m tucking them in at bedtime. I know there are people who say I love you every time they hang up the phone or leave a room but I was not brought up in one of those families. That’s not to say I didn’t feel loved or know my parents loved me. But love is demonstrated in many ways, and often the exhibit of love is just as powerful, if not more so, than words can be.

So Mother’s Day has come and gone, but instead of worrying about all of the ways we fall short in expressing our joy with being mothers or our love for our children, let’s resolve to spend the next 11 months (or at least the next few moments) counting the many ways in which our love for our children is evident, if less obvious. Have I missed opportunities to say the words “I love you” to my children? Perhaps. But when they look back they will see that my love has surrounded them constantly from the moment they were born. And it may not be until they have children of their own that they realize I have said “I love you so much” to each of them at least a thousand times per day for their whole lives long.

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To my children, I love you. I love you so much that I always give you the better piece of fruit.

I love you so much that I lay awake at night worrying about how I’m going to fill your prescription to have enough meds to get us through our vacation.

I love you so much that I once read “Where The Wild Things Are” every night for 3 months straight, and have done the same for each of you with countless stories.

I love you so much that I let you help me put the laundry away, even though it means I’m going to have to put it away all over again when you’re done.

I love you so much that I have practically torn your arm (and mine) out of the socket trying to keep you from getting hit by a car.

I love you so much that “ten more pushes” on the swing is really a rough estimate before you have to get off.

I love you so much that you always have second helpings before I do.

I love you so much that I toured 13 schools before finding one that is “good enough.”

I love you so much that I let you play in the sprinklers and sandbox right after you took a bath (there’s never a good time for a bath).

I love you so much that I screamed at you for getting lost because I didn’t think you were scared enough not to get lost again.

I love you so much that I’m always the last one to bed and first one up, just to make sure you have everything you need for a good day.

I love you so much that I drop everything and get back on the subway with the babies to bring another change of clothes to school only to find out it was a false alarm (that was a good one).

I love you so much that you think “I don’t work like dad does,” and I don’t correct you.

I love you so much that I know who likes extra peanut butter, who likes no crusts and who would rather have “just jelly.”

I love you so much that I will sing “Wheels On The Bus” on a loop until we get to the front of the line, just to make sure you’re not bored.

I love you so much that I count to ten (most of the time) instead of yelling back at you when you wake up every morning shouting “bully!” at me.

I love you so much that our “go to” pandora station is Sesame Street instead of, I don’t know, anything else.

I love you so much that I have embarrassed myself, lost my temper or cried my eyes out on your behalf in front of more teachers, doctors, bullies, parents and complete strangers than I care to recall.

I love you so much that I stand there and eat a peach and watch you guys lick out the brownie bowl (now that is love).

I love you so much that I host playdates with little brats because I want you to have a “friend” over once in a while, even if they require a hawk’s eye the entire visit.

I love you so much that I gave up a career I loved because the people I loved more needed me more.

I love you so much that I sat in the hospital every agonizing minute of every agonizing surgery, even though I wanted to run out of that place screaming.

I love you so much that I trade my soft, fresh turkey sandwich for your peanut butter and jelly crusts.

I love you so much that I stop cleaning up dinner to play “roll the baseball across the table, enthusiastically” with you, even though it’s really not my favorite game.

I love you so much that I let you read “Hop On Pop” to me at bedtime (after I read it to you) even though it takes 15 times longer.

I love you so much that I don’t even mind you probably won’t remember any of these things I did for you, just as long as you never feel like you have been anything less than loved with all that I have and I am.

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How do you say I love you to your children? I’d love to see this list continued in the comments section!

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