My parents are constantly telling me how much they love me, in a super explicit way. I realize I'm lucky to have parents that do this, and even luckier that they mean every word of it. But it makes me extremely uncomfortable that the're constantly beating me to the punch. I used to think that them saying it so often made it mean less...but over time I've realized that every time they say it it's more sincere than the last. And it's almost like torture. Because I think I'm too immature or scared or embarassed or something to respond with an equally sincere "I love you" every single time (we're talking multiple times per day). So I always feel like I owe them something, like I'm "behind" in some way in the competition of who can say it more.
Fortunately, they've made it clear to me that what I'm doing in my own life, separate from them, makes them happy and proud. For the time being, I think I'm going to just keep letting my actions speak louder than my words and keep taking the hit, because I think if I said "I love you" that often I'd eventually stop meaning it. When actions become reflex rather than intentional and calculated, they trade awareness for speed. I'm baffled as to how my parents have hacked this trap.
More grateful for them (and my Auntie) than for anything else this year. I don't think blood relationships mean much, but I do think the bonds you build with family are founded upon assumptions that make for stronger-than-usual trust levels. It's not that you share blood with someone in your family; it's that you share experiences, arguments, values, traditions, and memories. I think you can build your family by going out and finding people and making these things happen, but if you're born lucky enough to have loving blood-relatives, you might as well embrace them.
Some of these thoughts were inspired by recent conversations with Sarah Bishop.