He runs at me with his arms out,
he wants to be held.

He takes a break from whatever he's doing
and he says
mommy mommy mommy
over and over while he lunges
from across the room.

It's like he hasn't had water all day
and suddenly he sees a lake
and he doesn't think for a second that
it's a mirage,
he's just certain
that he'll get what he needs.

Sometimes he says
I love you I love you I love you
I wuv yooouuuu
like a deep groaning whine
that's how he says it,
like his heart
is bursting
and he's running out of time
while he runs across the room.

When did I lose that kind of certainty
in the rushing for what I need,
I wonder.
I pull him in
and hold him tight
and I say I love you I love you I love you
with an intensity like his
from the way we both feel it.

I won't protect myself in fear of the day that he pushes me away,
I will keep saying it
like this,
just how he taught me...
even then.
I will say it over and over
even though it will look and feel like a mirage

I will always say it
no matter what,

because it's a lake.

15 clicked right here to comment:

Jamie said...

Wow! Perfect! I am just now getting to the stage where Wes can say "I love you Mama" unprompted and randomly. And it makes me sooooooooooooo happy!

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} said...

heather, i love this. so tender.

Jenna said...


i know.

mt son is 3, i love the intensity and the small fists curled on my back as he pounds it when he hugs that way.

swonderful said...

sweetness. i think we must say "i love you" around here a hundred times a day. along with hugs and kisses. it's how i grew up and it is so so nourishing.

Amie said...

What a wonderful treat tonight as I read this after having a day of "not enoughs" in the mommy arena. As my daughter sleeps, I reset for tomorrow to face the day anew and refreshed. Thank you for the wonderful visual reminder of our children's genius.

Natalie said...

THere are moments whenI can hug my ever growing teenage son & for that split second I'm taken back to when he was a sweet toddler. When I was the only thing that mattered in his world. When he would run to be with abandon knowing I would catch him if he fell.

One Crafty Mother said...


I needed this, desperately, today.

Thank you.


Yvette said...

That's right! Always keep saying 'I love you!'

I have the pleasure of three children, now ages 26, 23, and 16 and we are never short on "I Love You's."

But I did go through a period, when my daughter was in her teens, when she pushed me away.

You might enjoy this post:

And I hope you'll come my current project: The Love Project!

Kelly said...

So true. I've been thinking about unconditional love and how its purest from is from a child toward a parent. Forget doubt or conditions or reality -- we are their everything.

Alita said...

Perfection. Their love is perfection and they give us another chance to love them deeply each and every single day. Aren't we so lucky?!?

Loved this!

Ann Imig said...

I am right here with Four. Right here.

Elaine A. said...

I hope they never lose that love for us. I need to tell my Mom next time I see her, "I love you, I love you, I love you!!" ;) (I'm SO doing it...)

trishatfox said...

You will always say it.
Just as I always do. The "I Love You," my 16 year old boy has always said in return has become, "Love you." Sometimes, when he's upset that I am making him finish his homework before watching TV or I am enforcing some driving safety rule, I get only, "(inaudible grunt)you."
But I always say it. The full thing: "I love you."
Tonight he asked if I would make him bacon pretty much as soon as I'd cleaned up the kitchen from dinner. He didn't look optimistic.
"Sure," I said.
"That was delicious," he said. "Thank you, Mom."
"Your welcome. I love you,I told him."
His response: "I love you, too."
And that is why you always keep saying it. Even when they start pulling away.

Jessica said...

so true!

Melissa said...

Oh my goodnes, wow. this is THE most beautiful thing I've ever read.

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