I love you. Three words I use everyday. I tell my family when I see them or talk to them. My boys hear me say it approximately a gazillion times a day. That is not an exaggeration either. But up until my separation, I had a difficult time telling my friends I love you. I would only say it to a select one or two.
I can remember the first time I told my best friend Nicole, I love you. It was at the end of a phone conversation. I said good bye and I love you. It just slipped out. Before this, I never had told a friend these three words. Why not? I don’t know. Maybe it made me feel awkward and uncomfortable. Maybe I was afraid it wouldn’t be reciprocated. Maybe she would feel weird around me now.
And now, I tell her every time I see her. Every time we get off the phone. Not every time we text, but most of the time. Those three little words are vital to our relationship. These words are vital to all my relationships. So I say them. Over and over again. Because, I am not going to hold back from telling you.
This divorce has changed me. I know I have said it before, but it really has. I am done with hiding my feelings. I am done with trying to act like I don’t care. If I have love in my heart for you, then I am going to tell you. For when I say it, I mean it. I love you. You. Not because you are my friend. Not because you are here or available. Not because of what you bring to my life (although those are very wonderful side benefits). I love you.
The love I have for each person in my life is different. I love you because you make me smile. I love you because you let me cry on your should. I love you because you trust me enough to cry on mine. I love you because I can throw up in your bathroom and your husband makes me a breakfast sandwich the next morning. I love you because you have seen me at my worst and at my best. I love you because our kids play well together. I love you because I can text you in the middle of the day sobbing and you are there. I love you because you embrace my loud, weird, and quirky self. I love you because you will set me straight when I need to be. I love you because we share two boys together. I love you because through marriage you became my family and because of divorce, I choose to keep you as family. And you choose me.
I love you because we can laugh, swear, and drink wine together. I love you because together we can pray and worship God. I love you because for just a short time you came into my life and changed it before you left again. I love you because you push me to be braver, bolder, stronger. I love you because you love me. Or maybe you don’t. You care for me. Which is important too.
So I am going to tell you. I love you friend. I love you former husband. I love you family in law. I love you cousins. I love you my siblings. I love you Mom and Dad. I love you my beautiful sons. I love you Jesus.
I need to tell you. Because you might not be here tomorrow. I might not be here tomorrow. I do not want to leave this earth without telling you how much you mean to me. I can’t let you go without letting you hear my heart. I need to tell you I love you for maybe you don’t know. Maybe you are struggling right in this moment and you have to know these words. Maybe I am having a hard time and I can’t go another second without letting my tribe know. I need to tell you this because maybe I never really showed you I did and do. I never fully appreciated you and now I have to tell you I love you.
When I say I love you, I am also saying thank you. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for never not believing in me. Thank you doing what you do. Everyday. When I say I love you, I am giving a part of myself to you. I don’t expect it back. It is my gift to you. So take it. And I hope you cherish it. Just as I cherish you.
When I say I love you, I mean it.