"When I write stories I am like someone who is in her own country, walking along streets that she has known since she was a child, between walls and trees that are hers." --Natalia Ginsburg

Sunday, 16 September 2012

I Love You Too........

Charlotte 1999

I Love You Too…….
So if you read my previous blog entitled “I Love You”—you will remember that I was sixteen when I first learned to stammer it. I am careful to express to the people in my life, my love and the joy knowing them gives me---whether it is with ‘I love you’, or thanking them for their time, because, really when life is over and done with—relationships with God, family, friends, (and if you are blessed to have a significant other), are really all that matter.

I have always told the children I take care of that I love them; I try to show them in different ways---I encourage them when they do well or when they try harder when they are struggling. I show them with hugs and kisses, and by choosing to spend time with them. I enjoy their company. I show my love and respect by apologizing when I need to…..and I have always been careful to assure them of my love even when it is necessary to discipline them.

Sometimes the responses to, ‘I love you’….are interesting, funny, and enlightening.
One young boy would get this funny look on his face when I told him I loved him, he was comfortable with me and returned my hugs warmly, but sensing he was uncomfortable with ‘I love you,’ I asked him if I should stop saying it. He replied. ’No, I just don’t know what to say’. I told him he could say whatever he wanted—he didn’t have to tell me he loved me, he could say thank-you, or nothing at all, that I was okay with that, but sometimes I just needed to tell him what he meant to me. When I asked him if that sounded reasonable, he smiled and said he thought that would be okay—and it was.

A little girl I took care of years ago in Calgary, was annoying her older brother and his friends by ‘directing’ them in how they should play, (actually we had another name for it, but I am trying to be sensitive, because they will probably read this). Exasperated, Steve came in the house and asked me to sort it out. So I called Sandra in and explained the importance of being respectful toward her brother and his friends, and was quite firm about the possible consequences if she didn't. She was quite miffed at her brother for telling on her, and as she was leaving to go back outside I felt it prudent to remind her to not slam the door as she was leaving.

I said, ‘Sanny’…….

‘Yeah, Yeah’, she said, ‘I know, I know….you love me even when you are mad at me.

SLAM ....went the door. I did not appreciate the echo in my head, but I was amused at her assumption, and pleased, that she understood I loved her even when I had to be firm with her.

In 1999, I was living in Montreal and taking care of Charlotte and her sisters Marion and Juliette. Charlotte and I were in the kitchen doing something together and I don’t remember what it was she did as she walked from the room, but it delighted me -- and I told her I loved her. She stopped, turned around and with a big smile and with quiet sincerity said, ‘I know’.

Her words kind of stunned me, more so than if she had replied with ‘I love you too’. It was the way she said it—there was no doubt in that child’s mind that I loved her. Love is ALWAYS a gift—but that day Charlotte taught me that to know that someone has confidence in my love is a gift too.

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