Sometimes it sounds like: “Be safe.” “Did you eat?” “Call me when you get home.” And, “I made this for you.” My sister shared this concept with me recently, and the last one always …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2019-2020, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Sometimes it sounds like: “Be safe.” “Did you eat?” “Call me when you get home.” And, “I made this for you.” My sister shared this concept with me recently, and the last one always makes me a little teary.
In our family, we do say “I love you” a lot. And we hug “hello,” we hug “goodbye,” we hug “have fun at the grocery store.”
But sometimes we also say, “How did the meeting go?” or “You look fantastic today” or “It’s really great to see you,” as well as, “I miss you.” (It’s very special to me when someone simply says, “Thank you.”)
What do you say?
My cousin Jan shares her love by suggesting “Let’s go for a walk,” or “Let’s share a meal together.” Vicki, a friend from high school, echoes Jan’s sentiment when she says, “Come back soon!” And, Tom, a friend from college, says, “Take care of yourself.”
My dear friend Judy, who always thinks of other people first, shares her love when she asks, “How are YOU?” And high school friend and classmate Elaine knows that a call or a text just to check in can also say, “I love you.” Classmate Mike simply asks, “May I pray for you?”
For many people, expressions of love often sound like what Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, calls “acts of service.” For example, my friend Mel asks, “How can I help you?” and friend and former colleague Jan will say, “Do you need anything?”
High school friend Pat’s offering warms my heart: “It’s my turn to do the dishes!” and former neighbor Kim makes me cheer with “I cleaned your car for you.” For family member Jennifer, sometimes it sounds a lot like “Laundry’s done!”
For friend and fellow writer Kim, it might be, “I emptied the dishwasher,” or “I got you Diet Coke.” And she made me laugh, in sweet wistfulness, with: “Of course, I’ll watch The Incredibles with you again.”
Former colleague Nan and friend-from-second-grade Jacque both connect love with … health and fitness? Yes, Nan she says she might ask, “Can I warm up your coffee – while I’m getting my Fitbit steps in?” And although Jacque qualified her response by telling me it isn’t very “romantic,” I consider it charming that she asks her husband, “Wanna go to the gym?”
What children say is so pure that it’s easy to hear “I love you” in a 22-month-old’s offer to his grandmother, my high school friend Debbie, while extending his little hands and saying, “Help you gamma up.”
As former classmate Ken reminds us, we don’t necessarily need words: “I take the armload of groceries from her, I hold the door for her. I give her the last piece of pastry ... sometimes the biggest show of emotion is a hug.”
Dear friend Patty agrees, saying simply: “Hugs.”
Of course, sometimes we just say, “I love you,” as former classmates Glenn and Randy do: Glenn continues to tell his six children – and their children – that he loves them, and Randy will say, “I love you more.”
And perhaps fellow writer Ginny sums it up best when she notes: “I do say ‘I love you’ to family and friends when I mean it. I always say it when I feel it … because, what are we saving it for?”
May you enjoy many expressions of love this holiday.
Andrea Doray is a writer who agrees with Coach Stacy who says, “Safe travels, my friends,” and with friend Molly who offers: “As you wish …” Contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.