My kids know I love them, right? Internet strangers spending five seconds on this here blog know I love my kids. It’s not a secret.
Lately my sweet two-year-old Bean has begun to really understand what those words mean when we say I Love You.
It’s beyond understanding what red and bwue mean, or that a circle is round and squares have pointy edges; that cows moo and pees, daddy? will get her almost anything.
She knows these words when she first wakes up and when we tuck her in at night. She knows they are not just for her but for her brother and for mom and dad. She knows they taste and feel good, often wrapped around a hug and kisses.
And she knows that when she says them back, it makes me melt.
To this young but growing mind, the words I Love You are moving past something to say. They are building into something bigger than ritual, larger than necessity. They are words she is learning to attach to that swollen feeling in her chest when completely encompassed by her daddy’s arms, when resting against her mama’s shoulder, when clinging to big brother’s back.
They are words followed by affection given freely and without hesitation by a little girl with exaggerated kisses and wriggling hugs.
And watching as she shifts from knowing love to knowing love is breathtaking. And all I can do is stare speechless and try not to crumble when she wraps her arms around my knees and declares, Wuff you, mom.