As a Dad with both a boy and two girls, I know how busy things can get, and sometimes I feel like we’re all so busy doing stuff — even just playing or bicycling around or swimming at the pool — that sometimes we parents forget to say something nice or do something nice for our kids.
In particular, when was the last time you hugged your child or told them that you loved them?
I don’t mean that every day needs to be mushy and full of never-ending cuddles. I don’t think any child would stay still for that! But instead, I’m talking about the kind of thing we try to do every day, just taking a few seconds to express your love and appreciation.
Today, for example, my 5yo boy and I were about to go on a bike ride when I turned to him and said “Hey!”
me: “You know what?”
me: “I love you!”
He didn’t say “I love you too”, but he doesn’t need to say that for me to know just how important I am in his life. In fact, it’s funny how programmed we are to say “I love you too” when someone tells us that they love us, which is kinda too bad. Sometimes a sweet “I know, honey” or “Mmmmm…” or “I’m so glad” are a lot more honest and genuine responses.
Oh, and after I told my son G- that I loved him, I continued…
me: “Of course, I don’t always like you, but even when you’re driving me crazy and I don’t like how you’re behaving, you know that I still love you and always will, right?”
he: <squirms, grins>
me: “And I bet that sometimes you don’t like me so much either, eh?”
he: <grins again>
me: “That’s okay. No-one likes someone else all the time. But sometimes being mad at someone sure doesn’t mean that you don’t love them all the time, does it?”
… and so we biked off into the sunset, both happy to know where we stood. He has a big piece of my heart, and I have a super-special place in his.