When I was growing up, my family was never the type to say, “I love you.” It just wasn’t done. I went to Catholic school and once we had a mass in the gym where the priest gave a homily that I don’t remember much about, except that he inspired and encouraged us to go home and tell our families that we loved them.
I went home and nervously approached my mom in the kitchen and sheepishly mumbled, “I love you.” Because I did, after all. She came right over and gave me a hug, looked at my sympathetically and kindly asked, “What did you do?” Needless to say I didn’t try that experiment again for a long time.
Over time, different forces changed my family so that we did, in fact, begin to say “I love you”, and now we say it often and naturally. It’s important to me to mean it, to ensure that it’s not just a throw-away phrase at the end of our phone conversations.
I guess it’s always been important to me to be truthful or at least careful about using this particular phrase, maybe because we didn’t say it much when I was growing up. I remember the first time a boyfriend told me he loved me. We were standing in the entrance of my house and I was completely stunned and didn’t say anything back, which must have been rather disconcerting for him. But I didn’t want to say it if I didn’t mean it, and I hadn’t figured out yet what I was feeling. Poor guy.
A friend in university had a boyfriend with similar feelings of restraint. I love the story she told me about how they were parked somewhere one evening and he was compelled to say, “I… I… LIKE you STRONGLY!” Ahh, there’s nothing like a little conviction to sweep a woman off her feet.
It’s only in the last year or two that I’ve been able to start saying, “I love you” to the rest of my family — by which I mean the family I married into. It’s not that I haven’t loved them for years, it’s just that I don’t often hear them saying it. Michael’s not too mushy with his parents, and his dad in particular is not given to flagrant displays of emotion. But with distance and Granny’s battle with cancer, we’ve all become more able to say it. Well, at least the women have. I’ve told Marian and Lindsay and both Granny and Pop that I love them. But I have a feeling that Jim would squirm. And so would Tim. So for them, I just feel it; perhaps we’ll grow into it eventually.
I’ve been promising to post my latest song (which isn’t even my latest song anymore), but I’m still having some issues with my throat, so haven’t been able to record it. Here’s a little something in the meantime, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. It’s the song I wrote for my sister and her new hubby (hi Pedro!) for their wedding this past November. I admit that it doesn’t exactly have the deepest lyrics, but I wrote it as a way to say “I love you” to them, and so I share it with you today as a way to say “I love you” to all my family and dear friends.
The song is called “Together” and I’m accompanied by Mani Mobini. Please feel free to watch him instead of me in the video. (He’s cute, isn’t he? Sorry ladies, he’s already spoken for.)