Every night when I put my children to bed, I make sure my oldest daughter hears the following words from me:
"Good night, I love you" (smooch smooch).
I especially took effort to do this as I know Karina probably feels unloved many times during the day. The poor girl has to constantly clean up "THE MESS", even if it was Damus who did it. Plus she has to share with Damus even if she doesn't want to. Mom also has her living the higher laws as she is the older and "should know better". It would also seem to her that Mom pays more attention to Damus as he needs help with more things. With a younger sibling around, I know she feels like the spotlight has been taken from her. Some nights it is difficult to say those words as blood is still boiling from a fresh yelling session. So on those nights it sounds more like:
(angry, curt and quick) "GOOD NIGHT. LOVE YOU"
But no matter how it is said, the important thing is to say it. I didn't realize the impact of that little ritual up until a few nights ago. I had wished the usual "Good night Karina. I love you" when not long after, I heard Damus' demanding baby voice "Love me! Love me!" Well, it was sort of garbled but I manage to make out what he said (you know us mothers and our super gift in interpreting baby talk). That made me laugh, but more importantly, it made me open my eyes to the fact that he needed that assurance too. I took it for granted that he knew I loved him as I dot over him more than his sister. Plus he sleeps with me so he gets hugged to sleep. Obviously, he still needed to hear those magical words.
When kids are younger and are still able to make you laugh over their silly antics, it is easier to say the much valued "I love you." But what happens when they grow out of their cuteness, and step into the realm of rebellion? I believe those three simple words become more difficult to utter. However, I also believe that when it is most difficult to say, that's when it's vital you say it. And that's when it will make the most difference.
Children are experts on selective listening. Throughout their lives they are going to pick and choose what they want to hear. As adults, don't we still do that to our own parents? (or parents-in-law). But I can guarantee you their ears will not be deaf to the words "I love you." Not only will you have the attention of their ears but their hearts as well.
So I am going to make a pledge this day, that my children will hear those three profound words "I love you" everyday... rain or shine, happy or sad. They need to hear it as much as they need air to breath. Will you join me in this quest? Have you told your child "I love you" today? I have.