Soft wrinkled fingers gently stoked the hair back from my aching head, like they did every time my head hurt that badly. “Oh, I love you.” My grandma spoke in a quiet I’m-sorry-you-don’t-feel-well-voice.
“Why?” I asked.
That answer didn’t satisfy. I thought there should be more to the story, but usually those fingers were so soothing my eyes would close against the desire to hear more, and I would drift off to sleep.
Years later and with three children to love and to nurture, I find myself cataloging their gifts and thinking I have wonderful children. But sometimes when we are discussing something about their lives and they share their surprise at being capable, or looking good, or succeeding and I say, “Of course you did well!” Or, “Of course you won!” Or “Of course you’re beautiful!” and they ask me “why?” all that comes out is, “Because!”
Because you are beautiful, smart, amazingly talented and sweet. Because you’re a hard worker and a deep thinker and your quirky sense of humor gets me every time.
Because you persevere through things other people only think of dealing with in nightmares and because you keep trying no matter how hard it is and because you feel perfect when I hug you and because you still lay across my bed to chat with me.
Because I cannot imagine life without you and your eyes are so clear and direct and sometimes when you get mad you say ridiculous things.
Because you are unique and ornery and loving and have a temper that matches your hair. Because I’ve shared every moment of triumph and sadness and you’ve grown into a stunning person.
Because you do some things that remind me of myself at your age and because you do other things that make me wonder if you’re actually my child.
Because you are capable and confident, shy and uncertain and you expect everyone to deal in honesty and respect.
Because I believe you can do anything you set your mind to and because you don’t know yet exactly who you are.
Because you love and you cry and you laugh with your whole heart. Because you are a piece of me, only so much better.
Oh my children. I love you more deeply than I ever pictured and more than words can ever say.
And just like my Gram, sometimes those feelings overwhelm me and all I can say is, “I love you, just because.”