This is one of my favorite pictures of me and Mr. J.
It is the night before our wedding.
It is also right before I headed over to a hotel to spend the night with my sisters, niece, and parents, and J headed back to our place to spend the night with the cat.
Superstitious gal that I am, I did not want to be seen by my groom before the big moment.
Sentimental (sssh — he thinks people don't know) guy that he is, he didn't want to see me until I was to appear in a doorway on my father's arm.
So we said our goodnights, see-you-tomorrow's, and I-love-you's and parted with the intention of not speaking for another 18 or so hours.
I think I lasted less than two before I called him from the hotel to hear his voice and tell him again how much I loved him.
(After that, I did hold out until the ceremony, an event with its own story that will be told as I count down to the month-end 10th anniversary of the Wedding Wedding. )
Right now, I'm reveling in a little bit (a lot) of gratitude. I'm grateful that even now, we don't let a lot (very little, usually) of time go by in between I-love-you's.
Neither one of us grew up in families where that phrase was tossed around a lot.
Yet, now as adults, both of our families are very comfortable with it. I just got off the phone with my Mom, where I easily ended the conversation with "I love you." In fact, it doesn't feel right anymore if I don't. The same is true when I speak with my Dad, all of my sisters (by birth and marriage), my (huge!) extended family, and with many of my friends.
I don't know how it became so easy to say — not to be confused with easy to feel, mind you — expressing love and meaning it holds as much value as it did when I was a child and it was a such a mysterious sentiment.
So mysterious, I think at one point I might have thought that it was only said when you did get married. Like only on that day. I may have even thought that's where babies came from. (Maybe. For a little while ...)
So I really don't know how it became so easy to say. Cultural changes? Maybe. Therapy? Probably. Confidence? Definitely.
It doesn't really matter, though, why it's easy. It just matters that it is.