Love and Other Four-Letter Words


A mother embracing her daughter.Ok, I have a confession. I curse a lot (sorry mom!). Not in front of the kids (mostly). But definitely in my personal life (and maybe a little under my breath at work! Shhh). I know some people are really against that type of language. My husband has NEVER uttered a four-letter curse word in the 20-plus years we’ve been together. He’s a man of few words, and curses aren’t any of them. But, to me, certain words pack a punch. They add emotion to what I’m trying to say. They punctuate the important. It gives a big old highlight to what you’re trying to say. But you know words also do that BESIDES curses?

The phrase “I love you” and love is a four-letter word in my house that is used daily, constantly, and with reckless abandon.

Love is a special four-letter word in our house. I say it a lot. And there are so many different “I love yous” in our house. There’s, “Have a great day! I love you,” when they’re jumping out of the car at school. There’s, “Ok, go to bed. Love you!” When I’m telling them to go to bed for the 900th time.

I tell them I love them when I’m proud of them, when they’re hurting, and when I simply need them to know…again!

When my youngest was starting to talk, I would say, “I love you,” and she would laugh. We would try to teach her how to say it, and she would respond loudly, “AVOCADO!” which was not a fair substitute!

Finally, to my heart’s joy, she started saying it back. And now her favorite phrase is, “I love my whole family.”

My older daughter went through a phase where I would say, “I love you,” and she would roll her eyes and say, “I know!” But now she says, “I love you more,” and then I say (or sometimes sing) “I love you the most, in the world,” and so on and so on.

I show my daughters that I love them with every act. Every hug. Every time I push their hair out of their face. And it’s deliberate. I know the world can be fun yet challenging and sometimes scary for me, so I can’t even imagine it for them.

But sometimes, the people you love need to hear it the most. Really hear it. So I try to really look in their eyes and say with so much meaning, “I love you.”

Because it means so much more than that. It means I’ll protect you. I hear you. I understand you. I’ve got your back. And I hope they wear it like a little shield on days when life seems challenging.


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