When something pops up a couple of times over the course of a week I try to stop and pay attention. Today while I was listening to Resilience by Eric Greitens (thanks to Jeremy for the recommendation!) there was a comment about how ancient Roman men would be sure to say good night to their kids because there was a high infant mortality rate and for all they knew that could be the last time they saw their child. Really Kreiling, what the hell? Trying to depress us today? Nope, quite the opposite! I hope everyone who reads this takes a quick moment to sneak in one more quick hug, smooch, or say “I love you”to someone they love and appreciate tonight.
When I heard this today I stopped the book and smiled. There’s a little family tradition that is so automatic it could almost slip past appreciation everyday. That said, there has yet to be a time that I didn’t appreciate it for at least a fleeting moment. Every night when I’m home I give the boys a hug, tuck them in bed, and tell them I love them. They respond in kind (except for tucking me in, but based on how early we sometimes go to bed that will probably start happening before too long!). Every time they would leave the house, be it going to a friend’s house, going to school, whatever, they get a hug and I tell them I love them and they respond in kind. Becky always gets a kiss and an “I love you” before either of us leave the house, and there’s always a kiss ready when we return.
The reason for this might seem morbid, but who knows if that time that one of us walk out the door or go to bed will be the last time we have with each other. The odds are definitely in our favor that we’ll do this over and over again for many decades, but just in case… If something would ever happen to one of us I want to make sure that there is never a question, never a shadow of doubt, that they are loved. Knowing that helps me take a deep breath and not stress about all the “what ifs” in the world. There are many things in life that I am powerless to control, but one thing that I can control is my taking a moment to make sure they know that I love them.
I love my family and don’t want to even think about losing one of them. Knowing that we have this little family tradition helps me minimize my worries and take solace in knowing they know that I love and appreciate them. It’s nice that it has become so automatic that I don’t even have to think about doing it, but yet has stayed so meaningful that I always appreciate each hug, each kiss, and every “I love you.”