I hope my children feel they’re loved. I need to know I've made the effort to tell them I’m happy with them and happy for them. I don't see them nearly as much as I'd want or need. So I tell them, text them, write them, email them, phone them, whatever, from time to time, “You're my daughter. I'm your father. I'm well pleased with you.” It's my way of turning my heart to each child.
I rarely get a reaction or response; but one time one texted me, “I love you too, Dad.” Another time, when I needed a response, and for a reality check, I asked if he received my text,
“Yes, he said, I don't know what to say.
“Good; that’s OK; I love you son.
“Yes, I know; it’s all right; I’m fine, we’re fine,” and I rub his head and we move on. I hope, in his heart and mind, he likes it. I sense he does. He responds.
I remember how I felt when my father told me he loved me; embarrassed. I was unable believe it. How could he love? He was such a drunk and prick. He enabled me to avoid owning my emotions, my sense of inadequacy in the face of my embarrassment and his expression. Now, if my Dad were to tell me he loved me, even if he was drunk and a prick, I'd hope I’d say,
“Thank you. I love you too.”