Saying “I Love You”

“Bye!  I love you!” The woman chirped into the phone.  She closed her eyes and waited eagerly for his reply.

“O.k., we’ll talk to you later,” he answered.

She laughed and shook her head as she pressed the “end” button on her cell phone.

The 40-year old woman could count on one hand the number of times he said “I love you” to her.

There was a time it bothered her that he didn’t say it, but not anymore.

He came from a different background.  His father died when he was 9-years old, and his family wasn’t big on showing affection –certainly not publicly.  It just wasn’t his thing.  And she was o.k. with that.

She had only heard him tell her twice that he loved her, and both times it was in response to her saying she loved him.  The second time was at her wedding reception when he danced with the new bride.

He may not have always said it, but he always showed it.  And she never questioned his love for her.  Not once.

He bragged about her to others, gave her everything she needed, praised her when she succeeded and comforted her when she felt like her world was falling apart.

She realized years ago that people can say, “I love you,” and not mean it.  She’d rather have it this way.  “Don’t tell me you love me, SHOW me!” she saw on a greeting card when she was a little girl.  She finally knew what that meant.  Words are just words.  But actions speak volumes.  And, oh, the books she could write about this man.

She admired his strength, his work ethic, his integrity, patience and faith.

And she loved the fact that whenever her own young kids said, “I love you!” to him, he replied with “I love you, too!”   The first time it surprised her.  Now it simply made her smile.

Her husband looked up from the computer.  “Who was that?” he asked.

“My dad,” she answered, smiling.

He raised his eyebrows.  “Everything good?”

“Everything’s great,” she said, as she leaned down to embrace him around the neck.

“I love you,” he whispered.

“I know,” she laughed.  And she did.  And not only because he said so.

“I love you too, sweetheart,” she whispered back, feeling like the luckiest little girl and woman in the world.

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