As we nestled down into bed after a late night, the bedroom door suddenly flung open and a miniature silhouette declared into the darkness, "I just love you!" Cupcake promptly pulled herself up onto the bed, sprawled on top of me sideways and whispered again, "I just love you."
Nothing says love like a cuddle from my little cherub, even in the middle of the night!
Cultivating an environment where our kids know they are loved, has been a purposeful part of our parenting. We tell them we love them - every day. When they go to bed at night, when we leave the house, when we drop them off at school, when we hang up the phone, when we discipline, when we encourage and at random moments in between.
As a result all three of our kids have become accustomed to saying, "I love you." Early on, Cupcake responded to "I love you" with a simple "I you." Now she speaks in full sentences in the wee hours of the morning. I have caught our teens ending their phone calls with their cousins, grandparents and (gasp!) even each other with a, "Bye, I love ya!"
With Valentine's Day approaching, it is a perfect opportunity to increase our use of the word "love" and not just in reference to the roses, cards or chocolate received. Those are all wonderful ways to express our love (and here's hoping Hubby doesn't forget that!), but let's think outside the candy box to incorporate "I love you" into our family vocabulary. Consider little love notes in lunchboxes or a home baked treat just because or an "I love you" before bed every night or breaking out into love songs occasionally (eyes might roll, but I have fond memories of my Dad's serenades!)
Imagine our Heavenly Father, bursting open the door and declaring into the darkness of our hearts, "I just love you!" Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another! (1Jn.4:11 NIV)