My family is really affectionate. We are big on hugs, exhibitions of our love and pride in one another (cough cough we're the embarrassing people at my cousin's soccer tourneys cough) and we live to say, "I love you."
It used to really get on my nerves that every single day, my dad would ask me if he'd told me that day that he loved me. The answer was always yes, and it got on my nerves because it felt like it must be a daily ritual for him instead of a heartfelt sentiment. Of course he loved me; why did he have to make such a point of reminding me every day?
The answer is so obvious to me now, years later: he wanted me to know he loved me, and for me to never have a split second of doubt that I was loved and treasured by him. He wanted to be sure I had that certainty, and that certainty has helped me be a strong and opinionated person- I know that those who love me don't hold that love conditionally. I love my father for those constant "I love yous", and I love that my family is all so open about how much we love each other. None of us will ever have to feel horribly alone and unloved; we are told constantly how much we're cherished, and I'm so grateful that we feel that love for each other and express it freely.
This post was brought on by my cousin; he and my brother and his brother and their friend just left to go to a soccer game, and as they walked out, the 18 yr old young man that he has become yelled, "Love you!" that's a pretty great compliment from an 18 yr old. Love you, too, buddy. Love you and the rest of our family every day and always. :)