I don’t say I love you very freely.
I say it to Nick and my immediate family. My nieces and nephews hear it. Though maybe I should be more specific with them and say, “I am obsessed with you and love to hear what’s going on in your head. I remember when you couldn’t lift your head up and now you are programming a computer and you’re just so fascinating. Please tell me more.” (too much?)
Sometimes my friends would say “Love you” or similar in a text and I’d respond with a heart emoji or “love ya.” Something about saying I Love You was very hard for me.
But while quarantined at home, I started saying those three words more. I wanted my friends to know that I love them and that it’s hard to be away from them.
Learning more about the lived experiences of people of color made me want to make sure that people know they matter to me. And not just matter (because that’s such a low bar). I wish you good things in life. I care about your safety and well-being. I want you and your families to thrive. You don’t just matter to me. I love you.
So, I started saying those words to people I don’t usually say them to. When checking in on my cousins, I signed off with I love you. My friends heard me say it or at least type out the three words in full.
I’ve also had the pleasure of working at the food bank where I get to engage with individuals and families. I love taking the time to ask what they want. Do you like chicken or fish? How about cheese? What kind of dessert would you like? I saw cookies, pie, chocolate croissants … What will your kids eat? I don’t say I love you when they leave, but I hope they feel it just the same.