“I love you.”
“I’m glad you’re a part of my life.”
“You make me happy.”
“I’m proud of the person you’ve become.”
“You make life fun.”
“Sometimes I say things I don’t mean.”
“It’s crazy, I know, but I just had to call and say hello.”
“Thank you for helping me.”
“You can do it.”
“I believe in you.”
“Just yesterday I was telling my friends how much you mean to me, and I realized I should be telling you.”
“Being your mom is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“I know I sometimes fail you as a parent, but I’m doing the best I can.”
“Like you, I have a lot to learn. Isn’t it great we’re growing and learning together?”
“Life’s not always happy, but I’m here to help you when it’s not.”
“We can get through this — together.”
“Learn from your failures. They are the building blocks of success.”
“Be the best you can be.”
“When I learned I was going to be a dad, I was scared. But then you came and I was like, ‘I can do this.’ And I am doing it. And I’m glad.”
“Your smile makes me smile.”
“I won’t always be able to prevent you from falling, but I’ll be there to help you get up.”
“My life is better because you are in it.”
“I really do love you.”
To say all these things takes 60 seconds. How many seconds do you spend each day saying even one of them?
These, folks, are moments that matter, little things that mean a lot.
The moment we tell our children they are wanted and loved.
The moment we admit our shortcomings.
The moment we say I’m sorry or I messed up or forgive me.
Each night, I share several seconds with my teenage sons that make up one of the most important moments of my day. Before I head to bed, I go into their rooms and tell each of them how much I love them. They put up with my hugs and kisses mostly because they know it makes me feel good. They understand that if I die in my sleep, the last words I want to have spoken to them is “I love you.”
I doubt if this nightly moment means as much to them as it does to me. But I also know if a night passed and I didn’t do this, they would probably wonder what was wrong.
My hope is that as they grow older and have families of their own, they’ll feel comfortable sharing similar moments with their children. I want them to love and not to be afraid of showing their love. To feel and not to be afraid of expressing their feelings. To be the kind of husbands and fathers I know they can be.
And I hope that this nightly moment is leading the way, that it matters not just for the present but for a lifetime.
First published in York Daily Record/Sunday News April 8, 2007