“Marsha, whenever your child tells you they love you it means two things…” My mom once told me. “First, it means that they recognize you as their parent and a source of unconditional love and acceptance. Secondly it means they want something…”
Any time I walk into a room that the boy happens to be in he tells me, “Mom…I luuuuvvvv you!!” in the cheesiest voice imaginable. “Um okay” I reply and keep moving on. Other times he’ll say, “Guess what?” “What?” I reply. “I loooooooooovvvvvveeeeee youuuuuu!!!” “I see…” I usually reply before we separate and go our own ways. Then one day I decided to challenge his “I Love You’s” simply because I didn’t think he realized how often he said them to the rest of us. “Bay, you come across sounding disingenuous”.
He stopped mid “I love you” and looked at me hard. “Perhaps I am mom, but it’s my automatic default setting whenever I see you or the doll”.
Ha! Mom was wrong, there are three reasons….
“How YOU doing big guy?” The boy asked his father, wearing a big smile as he did so “Boy, what is this?” His father replied. “Aw dad, I’ve found that when I say “I love you” I come across as sounding disingenuous. I also use that as my default instead of saying like, how are you and such. So I’m trying to come up with a new phrase that doesn’t sound like a default or make me appear less than genuine, but sounds like something I would say. His father gave me a look, then back to the boy and said, “Just be yourself…” His sister, however, jumped in and said, “Please dad, that will make it even worse!” “Doll!” I scolded. “Don’t worry doll, I’ll still say “I love you to you and all your friends….” The boy replied which prompted the doll to make faux barfing motions in reply.
“Boy it’s okay to tell people you love them, but you have to mean that or you just come across as creepy” his father explained while the doll nodded her head up and down in agreement. “How about you practice asking people: How are you or How about the weather? Or something similar?” “Those sound disingenuine, if you ask me, but I’ll work on finding my new default” he replied.
“Mom…. I loooo um, I mean, looking good!” He said (a little too over enthusiastically) to me this morning following my workout. I smiled at him and replied “Thanks!”