Loving My Family for Who We Are

Erin - Claremont, Minnesota
Entered on April 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Recently I was reminded of something that I have believed and understood all along without even realizing it. The realization was brought to my attention upon reading a recent email from home. It was nothing special, nothing life wrenching or altering, but instead to the point and practical, just like my family. As I neared the end of the email, where a typical emotional closing would be, I read just these three little words: just home, comma, mom. Now I know this isn’t the usual “I love you” or “I miss you and love you,” but this isn’t how my family works. I wouldn’t expect the email to end that way, nor would I even find myself wanting it to end that way.

Growing up I was accustomed to seeing how my friends and their parents would interact with each other. Many would say goodbye with a hug or a kiss, followed by an “I love you Kayla, have a great day.” At the time I didn’t understand why my family never did this. As long as I can remember I have never hugged my mom or dad, and we’ve rarely spoke the typical words of affection to one another. My family cherishes their personal space, this is something I have grown up with, and continue to carry with me today. I still think of the couch as something that one or two people sit on with a whole cushion of space in between one another, which is a boundary not to be crossed. I find hugs awkward and uncomfortable and find myself uneasy if someone is sitting close enough to touch me while watching TV. This is me, this is who I am, and how my family is and always has been. This doesn’t mean I don’t have love for others, have emotions and feelings, and this certainly doesn’t mean my family doesn’t care for one another unconditionally. Despite not being like other families, and having the “I Love You,” at the end of every email, I have never once questioned the close bond and love shared by my family.

It may not be spoken or shown through a display of affection, but it is there. It is true, strong, and everlasting, just like a family who utters the three “magic” words of I love you, on a daily basis. However, this isn’t to say that as I build my own relationships and some day have a family; I am or am not going to say I love you or show affection differently than I have grown up with.

I believe love is not something that needs to be spoken. I believe it does not need to be found in a note, a card, or uttered as you turn out the door or in closing remark. As seen within my family, love is something that is shown; no matter how weird or bizarre it may be, just as the simple closing of my email from my mom. Instead my interpretation of it was all that mattered; to me it spoke of her pride, support, understanding, and deep love for her daughter. This I believe is our own way of showing affection.