He smiled at me across the counter as he crinkled his nose, and squinted his eyes in his coy three year old way that he always does. I said, “I love you” while we were doing something we do every morning. Trying to get him to eat his breakfast. It was the boring old song and dance of getting a 3 year old to eat, but the moment was important. Different. I saw him in that moment and he took my breath away.
I wanted to freeze that cute crinkled nose and squinty eyed smile in time so I wouldn’t forget it. I wanted him to know what I was feeling, but all I could say was, “I love you.”
I probably say hundreds of I love you-s to my three kids everyday. But, there is so much more behind that simple phrase when you’re a mom. It may sound routine to others that hear me say it over and over. It may even sound routine to my kids. I hope not because, to me, there is nothing routine about it. When my heart is exploding with happiness, joy, or even sadness, my go-to response is, “I love you.”
It’s not to diminish the event or situation, or feeling, it’s because it is the most powerful thing one human can say to another. I love you means everything. Because loving like a mother does, is something that you really can’t put into words most of the time.
So, I hope my kids know, that behind all those I Love You-s there is so much more being said. They may not know it now, but someday, they will. When they are parents. When they feel like their love just can’t grow anymore, but it does. When they experience heart-ache that is really someone else’s heart-ache. Sometimes the only thing you can muster up when the feelings are so big is a phrase that may seem common place to some. But, the human experience of being a parent is anything but commonplace.
So, when I say I love you, it really means, “I saw you helping your brothers today, and that made me happy.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “You’re growing up too fast little one. Please stay this way forever. Because my heart will miss the little you that you are right now.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I’m sorry.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “You astound me with your wisdom.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “Thank you for being the kid that always makes me laugh.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I’m proud of you.”
When I say I love you , it really means, “YOU made my day better today.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “Stay safe while you’re away from me. Because I couldn’t survive if you never came back to me.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I’m trying my best.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I need a hug today from tiny arms that mean everything.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I saw you today. I know what you’re feeling. I’m sorry you’re hurting.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I’m glad you still want to hold my hand.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I am in awe.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I love watching you grow.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “I can’t believe the amazing person you are. And, the even more amazing person you will someday be.”
When I say I love you, it really means, “You are part of me. And, my heart will never be the same.”
I love you doesn’t just mean I love you when you’re a mom. A mother. A Mommy. Because love is a feeling. But, a mother’s love is more than just one feeling. It’s a roller coaster. It’s joy and happiness, frustration and sorrow all rolled up into one. Being a mom means big, big feelings that we never thought we would feel. It means another person is a part of us in a way we couldn’t have dreamed up if we tried. Being a mom means, I’m more alive now than I ever could have been without them.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there. Share this with a Mom you love.
jennifer groeber says
So sweet. A perfect Mother’s Day post!
I love this! “But, a mother’s love is more than just one feeling. It’s a roller coaster. It’s joy and happiness, frustration and sorrow all rolled up into one.” Isn’t that the truth? So many feelings all rolled up into the overarching feeling of love. Thanks for this beautiful Mother’s Day reminder.
Chris Carter says
Aw!! This is just precious Meredith! It spoke to my mama heart through and through… you said it beautifully and perfectly… <3
Sarah @ Thank You Honey says
I love this post! Perfectly said! I hope my son knows everyday how much he is loved. xo
Carin Kilby Clark says
I love this! So sweet. Agree with every word. :-).
I love this post, Meredith! There are so many times I feel ‘I love you’ isn’t adequate, but somehow, it’s hard to put all those feelings into words. You expressed it perfectly.
Kristi Campbell says
This is so beautiful. I really relate to “please stay the way you are because I will miss little you” and also that I love you sometimes means I’m sorry. Perfect perfect Mother’s Day post, friend!
This was so sweet. I hope you had a fantastic mother’s day.
sue parker says
I’m glad I got to be YOUR mother!
Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. says
Can’t believe I missed this before Mother’s Day, but I’m so glad I didn’t completely miss it! I just love this one, Meredith, more than I can say.
Thanks Stephanie! That always means so much coming from you!