Pretty much every time I speak with my parents the phone conversation ends with us all saying ‘I love you.’ Except for these days when they usually end with one child in tears and me running off saying ‘got my hands full talk later’ or something like that before Little Swede has a chance to click on ‘the red telephone.’
But even with all that, there is a lot of ‘I love you.’
I don’t think I have ever heard the Swede’s parents say ‘Jag älskar dig’ to him. Not once. Not that I have ever doubted they love their kid. They certainly show it in many other ways. But through all the weddings and funerals and family ups and downs I have not heard an audible ‘I love you’.
This surprises me in many ways. I know Swedes are not as gregarious with their feelings as we Americans. I get that. But as a parent, I cannot for the life of me imagine not telling my child I love them several times a day. And just in case I forget, I always tell them one more time before they go to bed.
Little Swede is learning about this at the moment. He openly declares his love for me, The Swede, the newest Swede (still working on a blog name for the little guy) and everyone else in the family. But he also declares his love for the guy who delivers the advertising foldouts on the weekend (‘He looks so happy! I love him and his stripey jacket – were the exact words), a new brand of diapers, and Dora & Diego. (See? He is American, too!)
I am very happy to hear The Swede has gotten into the habit of saying ‘Jag älskar dig’ during bedtime routine, and Little Swede and his sidekick will grow up hearing they are well loved in two languages.
I know that actions speak louder than words, and far outweigh them. But I also am a firm believer that these little words say so much – especially to little ears. I cannot stop telling my boys how much I both love them and älska dem.