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Thank you for visiting Grandma's Briefs, where I write on the good, bad, humorous and heartwarming of being a baby boomer, grandparent, parent to adult children, wife and writer. Peruse the place, leave a comment or two, and feel free to email me any time at

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    Enunciate the love

    Bubby has no problem showing his best bud Ro-Ro how much he loves him!I recently read "Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms For The Half-Insane Working Mom" by Kristin van Ogtrop, which I received free for participation in the SV Moms Group Book Club. (SV Moms Group is the umbrella group under which I write for the Rocky Mountain Moms Group occasionally.)

    Kristin van Ogtrop is the editor of Real Simple magazine, which means she's a high-power working gal. In her book, she has lots to say about balancing work and life issues, or at least coming to terms with the fact that balance is an elusive thing for most working mothers. A lot of what she has to say is interesting, most of it's witty, tiny bits of it left me scratching my head.

    One tiny bit that stood out as a head-scratcher for me is a comment van Ogtrop made about saying "I love you." The context is that it's a chapter in which she talks about the strangeness of realizing she may possibly love a coworker. Love as in motherly love, friendly love, not some sordid office romance type of love. First she confesses, "I am not a big 'I love you' person," then a few paragraphs later she says this:

    "Many people who rise to leadership positions do so in part because they can control their emotions (see Emotional tourniquet, p. 63). Sometimes I think the only reason I have been hired to run a magazine is because I'm able to remember to keep a box of tissues in my office and I can usually remain dry-eyed while others around me burst into tears. I'm sure there are individuals I work with who pity my children, raised as they are by a woman who appears to have no emotions but the occasional flash of anger. To those colleagues: I assure you, I do tell my children and my husband that I love them. At least every once in a while."

    It's those last couple sentences that caught my attention. I'm sure van Ogtrop isn't dead serious about the "every once in a while" part, but it made me consider how often the "I love you"s are thrown around in my family.

    I come from a family where "I love you" was rarely said; my dad still says it only in third person ("Your dad loves ya"). I wanted things to be different in the family Jim and I created, and it is. We say "I love you" all the time, possibly so often that it has lost its oomph.

    It started off when the girls were little that after bedtime prayers there'd be "Goodnight, I love you." Then, when they left the house it'd be "Have fun. Be safe. I love you!" Now it's the last thing we say at the end of telephone calls: "I love you. Bye!"

    Even Bubby -- who, as a typical 22-month-old, still has a relatively limited word reportoire -- has learned the phrase. As we wrapped up our most recent Skyping conversation, he said "Bye!" followed by a mumbled "ahwhuhwhoo." Translation from Megan: "That's his 'I love you.'"

    "Ahwhuhwhoo"s notwithstanding, most of our family phone calls are now end with what sounds much like "love-ya-bye!" as we all lead busy lives and rush to get off the phone so we can move along to the other dire matters that fill our days.

    And I don't like that. Sure, the sentiment is still there, but this is an instance in which it's not just the thought that counts. It's the saying it like you mean it that counts.

    So going forward (gotta love that corporate phrase left over from corporate days) I plan to enunciate, to say it like I mean it. Because I do mean it. More than anything else in my life. I love my girls, my husband, my Bubby.

    And my readers.

    I love you!


    Extra special bonus because I love you guys: I received two copies of "Just Let Me Lie Down" by Kristin van Ogtrop to give away. Enter to win one in the Back Room.

    Today's question:

    In an average day, how many times do you say "I love you"?

    My answer: Probably five or six times.

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    Reader Comments (8)

    Ahwhuhwhoo. Awwwww.

    I probably say "I love you" at least four times a day. The husband and I are both people who express that often, so often it's much more.

    April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

    I'm a big "I love you" person with my family, too. I remember once as a kid, I got mad at my (weekend) dad and wouldn't tell him I loved him when I left. My grandmother told me to never, ever do that again no matter how mad I was because what if it was the last time I ever saw him? A deep lesson for an 8 year old and one I have never, ever forgotten. I think that's always in the back of my mind when I tell them I love them so I really do mean it. I just hope THEY know that.

    I have a harder time telling me friends I love them and I'm not sure why. So I hope you know that I love you, Lisa!

    And I would say that I say it about the same number of times you do.

    April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

    Aww, Amber, you made my eyes tear up. I love you, too, my friend! Ya know, I once had a boyfriend who had a horrible temper and he once fought with his grandma and yelled and screamed that he hated her ... and she died the next day. He was quite young but I think it was part of what made him the angry horrible (currently incarcerated) person he became.

    April 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterLisa Carpenter

    I am a big 'I love you" person. I probably say it 6-10 times a day to family. I tell my friends I love them, but not every time I see or talk to them. Life is too short to not let people you care about know how you feel!

    April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette

    Bubby is just too cute... I'd love to hear his "I love you" on a video!!

    I probably say it only once or twice a day, usually to my daughter because she demands it. I should probably say it more to my husband and son...

    April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

    I have to admit I don't say "I love you" enough....especially to my husband and daughter, probably cause I see them everyday. I say it to my son and parents at the end of our phone conversations because they don't live near me. I also come from a family that doesn't say it alot. I feel the love but I don't say it out loud. I want to change that.

    April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    I say "I love you" as many times in a day as I hear from, in phone calls, any of my grown-up kids, and more than once a day while David is staying with me (temporarily), or any one of them stops
    by. Also, when I write an e-mail. Does that count? If so, probably about 5 or 6 times a day.

    April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    I've been sort of turned off to using "I love you" as a phone call ender because I've witnessed lots of people using it who obviously don't mean it. Teenagers, for example, who tell their mom, "I love you" and then hang up the phone and say, "I hate my mom." But in the last few years my grown kids have started doing it, so now I do it, too. I hope they mean it!

    May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Adcox
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