We’re a family who uses the words, “I love you” very generously. We’re affectionate, we kiss, we hug, we snuggle and we say, write, text, email “I love you” all the time. For the last few months, either from my fingers or my autocorrect, whenever I try to type “I love you” somehow, it’s coming out “I live you.” I thought about that, and actually, that’s true, too!
At first it was a joke, my daughter and husband would text me back, “I live you, too,” but now they know that “I love you and I live you!” I realized that there are so many ways we live the ones we love.
We live them in their daily habits, in their nuances of behavior, the way they tilt their head, puzzle their eyebrows or jiggle in laughter. We know our loved ones intimately and we barely recognize how much we know their familiar responses, their subtle mannerisms, and how we feel their presence, or absence, in a space.
I live the smell of my kids; my teen’s bedroom, my youngest’s nighttime breath, my son’s outdoor hair, and I love their freshly bathed, clean, soapy smell. I live the sight of their bursting smiles, my husband’s tousled, whitened hair, their deep, rich eyes. I live the sight of them, and what they leave behind. Frankly, I trip on the stuff in their wake, spending all morning picking up the things they left around between the afternoon bus and bedtime.
I live the feel of my family, my husband’s kiss, my child’s hand in mine (they still do that, even the older ones sometimes), the poke on the forehead that wakes me when my eight year old had a bad dream.
I live the sound of them, the loud shushing in the mornings, the identifiable thumps on the steps (I can tell who’s there without fail), the harmony of giggles, my teen’s angelic singing just minutes before her typical-teen snippiness, the sound of my husband at the door, home from work.
We have a special ritual in our family, whether holding hands, or on a shoulder or knee, we use three squeezes to silently say, “I love you.” I suppose, now, the three squeezes also mean, “I live you.”