“Dad,” I paused and twisted the phone cord, “I just want you to know I love you.”
My dad’s response was an awkward chuckle, asking if I was okay and what happened, and then he asked, “Did you eat dinner yet?”
“Yes,” I answered dutifully, “Leftovers.”
The other day, I sent my sister a voice message on her WhatsApp and said, “Life is short. I just wanted to let you know I love you.”
Immediately, I received a response, “Yes, life is very short. I’m lucky to have you as my sister.”
In the Wu family, we do not say “I Love You.” In my family, we do not ask: “How are you?” Rather, we ask: “Have you eaten yet?” and then our bellies are filled with our favorite homemade dishes and we are sent out of the door with hugs and multiple containers with food compartmentalized neatly and meticulously. I feel like the oddball and more so teetering on all-American rather than the stereotypical reserved Asian when I feel the craving and need to say “I Love You,” because there comes that moment in time when the person will no longer be there for me to say it and for, maybe and God forbid, the person to know it and not just feel it. How is “I Love You” in your family?
My Stepmom once said to me, “People know when you love and care about them.”
“How do people know?” I ask.
“Because they feel it. They feel your love and you feel their love,” she said.
I can’t remember the last time someone said they loved me, but I can tell you all the times people showed they loved me and I felt it beyond measure. Showing love has always been important to me, and, for me, it is always the little acts of love and kindness that amount and add up to the most and that layer up like warm blankets that wrap us up and make us smile gratefully on the coldest of nights. Lately, saying and even hearing “I Love You” has been just as important to me. In a blink of an eye, our lives can change forever from one single moment. One day, someone we love is here. Another day, gone. More so slowly and now suddenly, giving, receiving, sharing, showing, saying, and feeling “LOVE” has been even more vital to me. I do not want to waste my days or wait until it is too late to not express “I Love You” in all the many expressions that there are. There are many variations and definitions of love. Love is shown. Love is said. Yet, above all else, love is felt in the absolute depths of us that cannot be described, explained, and fully and logically rationalized. I’ve always, always believed that love is something you feel—and there are endless feelings we feel that we cannot put into words—and, yet, we continue to try in these three simple words of “I Love You” .
These three simple words “I Love You” hold incredible meaning and significance. When did random announcements of “I Love You” take the people we love aback rather than melt and repeat the words back out of truth and not requirement? With the people you love, do they tell you that they love you and vice versa? Does love need to be said and shown? Would you be upset if someone ‘showed’ you that they loved you, but never said it? Or, vice versa? When was the last time you said the random “I Love You” to someone you really loved?
I can only hope that the people I love know it and feel it from me.
Do you know and feel that you are loved?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,