Ruibal column: Saying ‘I love you’ 365
Yes, it is Valentine’s Day. But I want to talk about a different day for just a moment.
I don’t remember this particular day. It’s the biggest giveaway to others of how young I am. It’s a common shared experience I just can’t relate to.
I was 6 years old when planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Some of my friends say they remember parents or teachers talking to them about it. All of my coworkers remember that day at school or work. I remember nothing.
Except for the following day.
My teacher explained the news to the class as best one can to a group of first graders. The details were general if they even existed at all. My teacher said something very bad had happened. Some people didn’t get to go home to their families last night. So it’s important to tell people you love them.
Since then, I have been an avid “I love you” sayer — out of passion, but also somewhat from that fear of never being able to say it again.
I would tell my mom “I love you” every day before the school bus came, every time before hanging up the phone, even just when she’d go outside to mow the lawn because who knows what kind of freak accident could happen between now and then.
Valentine’s season would always kick off on February 1 when my mom would slip a small heart-shaped box with a note inside in my lunch. So far this year, my mom has sent me four different Valentine’s Day cards. I’m told more are on the way. I learned about the meaning of Valentine’s Day first from my mom, so the barrage of balloons and stuffed animals at grocery stores in early January doesn’t bother me even when single.
In the 15 or so years since the staunch reminder of letting loved ones know you love them, I’ve realized that if I don’t tell my boyfriend “I love you” three times before going separate ways, that he’ll still know. But I tell him again.
I’ve written before on the morality of covering news, and that mindset seeps into even the most rosy-goggled holiday. Chapters end abruptly and it always seems to affect the most life-loving characters, people who never hesitated to absorb every drop of the world and make people feel like the center of it all.
It doesn’t hinge on one day, but one day can change it all. So take every day as an opportunity to make sure people know how you feel. Today is a good day to start.