Sometimes, actually a lot of the time, I am randomly hit with the sudden urge to just tell my kids, “I love you.”
We may be driving down the road in the car, sitting around in the living room, eating out at a restaurant or doing homework at the kitchen table. This voice will pop up in my head, (not sure if it’s my own voice or someone else’s) saying, “Tell them you love them.”
And I will.
Almost always, I am met with, “I love you, too.”
I am not sure if I get this urge because they need to hear it, or because I need to hear it back, but probably a mixture of both.
And we go on about whatever it is we are doing at the moment.
This particular “I love you” is different from the “I love you” that I say when I am dropping them off at school or right before bedtime. Even though, I mean it just as much on those occasions. Sometimes those get lost in the hectic morning drop-offs or at the end of the day when we are all spent from school, work, chores, etc.
Those random reassurances are needed on both ends.
We are human and whether it is a romantic relationship, friendship or parentship, we need to hear it more than just once in a blue moon or in those moments where you are “supposed” to say it or when it is expected I should say.
I never ignore this voice when it overtakes my mind, and my mom never did either.
She was the same way, we would be driving down the road and she would look at my sisters and me in the rearview mirror and say, “I love you.” We may have been singing along to a song or sitting in complete silence, but she wouldn’t hesitate to turn the radio down or break that silence to utter those words.
And I never ignored her. “I love you too, mom,” would leave my mouth and my heart would swell. I hope it is the same for my girls.
I think it is because now they randomly tell me, too.
I have now been a mother for almost a whole decade, and I cannot think of a day that has passed without me letting them know that I love them. I say it when I am frustrated with them, when I am happy with them and every chance I get in between.
And sometimes it is tough love.
On the days when they get in trouble for whatever reason and I must lecture them or punish them, I truly believe they understand that I am doing it out of love and because I want them to do better and be better. That’s my sole purpose as a mother after all.
It is just as important (if not more important) that they hear “I love you” during those hard days – the days that they are grounded, the days they don’t make the team, the days where they make an “F” on a school project, the days when they fail. It will never be a question.
Telling your kids that you love them is important. Yes, they are just words, but they are very much needed along with all the cuddles, care and affection. So, do not shy away from that random voice in your head. It is there for a reason. Say it often and show that you mean it just as much.
(Paige Nash is a wife, mother, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal, She is also a 2023 15 Under 40 finalist who loves her children, no matter what.)