Yes, I love you.

I’m not sure when it became uncool to say you love your kids.

At least not without phrasing it as a caveat: “You’re a pain in the ass...but I love you.

I don’t feel that I have to put an asterisks near love. I don’t feel like I have to hide it, lest I seem coddling or ridiculous or soft or sappy or helicopter-y or whatever term we use to disparage parents who enjoy being parents.

I don’t feel I can tell you enough: I love you.

I say it every day so you’ll never forget.

Can parenting be challenging? Of course. Can it be frustrating, exhausting, terrifying, guilt-inducing? Certainly. But those are my issues. Not yours, Thalia.

You just keep being who you are today: The one who is quick to ask, “can I help?” the second I turn on the stove. The one who is so excited learning to swim, you swallow water because you can’t stop laughing. The one who finally remembers to clear your bowls without asking (and still wants credit for it). The one who will sing every word to a song until you get it exactly right. The one who says her favorite subject is “Science. No, math. No, singing. No, reading. No, science.” The one who delights in making handmade cards for every holiday, every friend, every family member, often for no reason at all. The one who wakes up smiling, the same as you were born smiling.

The one who gives me at least one reason to be proud of you every day.

I’m not sure how this happy little thing…

became this happy big thing,

thalia at 8

but with 8 years, plenty of water and some food (mostly carbs) you grew into this amazing person.

I’m proud to be your mother. I love being your mother. Even if I’m still sometimes exhausted, still sometimes terrified, and still hoping the internet will implode in the next 18 months or at least before you start asking for a Facebook account.

I’ll never stop saying I love you. Even if people call me sappy (and they will). I am sappy! I like Journey, remember?

I’ll never stop saying I love you. Even when it embarrasses you (and it will).

Happy birthday Thalia. Thank you for making me a mother 8 years ago today. Thank you (and yes, your sister too) for never once making me regret it.



26 thoughts on “Yes, I love you.”

  1. My parents told/tell my brother and I that they loved us constantly, even now that we’re adults and grown. When we got to the awkward years where it was “uncool” to have your parents tell you they loved you in public, my father switched to “Remember my secret.” Of course, his love was never really a secret.

  2. That was lovely. I tell my crazy girlies that I love them all the time; even when I’m angry at them (through clenched teeth, but still…). Nothing uncool about that.

  3. Such a sweet post. My father was so affectionate, telling me he loved me daily and hugging and kissing me any chance he could get. Despite his faults, that affection made me a confident woman. I’m the same way with my girls, even the 9 1/2 year old who is starting to pull away from my hugs. I love them and I want them to know it.

  4. It’s not sappy if it;s genuine, so you’re not sappy in the least.

    Happy Birthday, Thalia! I’m sure 8 will be the best year yet.

  5. It’s not sappy if it’s genuine, so you’re not sappy in the least.

    Happy Birthday, Thalia! I’m sure 8 will be the best year yet.

    1. Thank you so much everyone. I know she’ll love reading these all one day. (Or maybe tonight.)

  6. Thalia,I wish you to grow up with all the enthusiasm and excitement and curiosity that you now have. You were the first of four wonderful grand daughters and you make me happy to be granpa every day. Whether we speak or not you are in my thoughts every day. You give so much pleasure.

  7. Happy birthday to Thalia!

    I tell my kids (even the teenager!) that I love them every day. And they even say it back sometimes. Don’t tell anyone.

  8. yes, I still tell my soon-to-be 20 year old, I love you. And he still calls me mummy. I love it. The challenge comes when they are 12 and screaming they hate you and you have to tell them “I love you “– as they slam the door in your face.

    1. I feel like I’ve come to school to learn on a day I hadn’t anticipated getting out of bed, Jamie. Wow. Read my comment below. My daughter is 12. Just wow. My mood has improved dramatically (and it wasn’t even that bad considering I had dental work this morning). But seriously, I’m going to commit myself to showing her I love her regardless of how she’s acting because there’s nothing she can do/does that changes my love for her. I really wish I knew when I stopped saying it though. And why.

  9. I don’t know when I stopped saying I love you or why, but I know I want to go back to it. I know I do. My two younger children are still young enough to say it to me and I reciprocate. But they’re also young enough still for me to say it with so much conviction and meaning just randomly. Yet, with my oldest, why is it so hard? Why don’t the words come? The feeling is there, no doubt. Why, then, do I stop myself on the brink of saying it, feeling old and lame and purposeless? And now I think of how the lack of these three words may be impacting HER. Well damn.

  10. And that’s it for my morning cry! 🙂

    I will never stop telling my baby boy I love him, and I will never caveat it – you are so right.

    Happy birthday, Thalia!

  11. As they reach milestones, so do we. It’s a beautiful, tragic, uplifting kind of choreography.

    Wishing happy days, special and ordinary, to you both.

  12. Thalia! Happy Birthday to an awesome young lady, one who inspires so many of us readers with your courage, caring, and goodness.

    And to you, Liz, a happy day of becoming a mom. You’re one of the best, one of my favorites.

    Love to both of you.

  13. Happy birthday Thalia and happy mom day to you. What a gorgeous girl you have! My oldest is 8 (though according to her, she’s practically 9) and she still likes the, “I love you”, even though she pretends to be embarrassed.

  14. My four are all teens, and we all tell each other we love each other every day, sometimes it’s just a text message or sending a funny pic to each other’s facebook accounts, but one way or another, we say it, and we mean it. Nobody ever looked back on their life and thought that they got just too much love, you know?

  15. Happy Birthday Thalia! I’m OK with being uncool and saying “I love you” as often as possible. Hey, everyone already knows I’m a dork anyway 🙂

  16. Happy birthday Thalia!

    Absolutely love this post, and I could not agree more, with “I don’t feel I can tell you enough: I love you.”

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