When I hug my son he tells me, "I love you too, mama." When I lift him up first thing in the morning and nuzzle my nose in his neck, breathing in the last vestiges of baby that still cling to him, he says it. "I love you too, mama." All throughout the day, I speak no words, but he hears me anyway and acknowledges my silent gestures with, "I love you too mama."
The first time he did it, I froze. I just looked at him, and kept looking at him, long after he'd wriggled out of my arms, and moved on to some new activity. For him our exchange was nothing to ponder. It was simple. I thought about how we (we being adults on the whole) believe love to be some complicated thing, but maybe it's not.
Maybe love is simple.
Maybe we come into the world knowing what love feels like, looks like, sounds like, and it's only what we learn and tell ourselves about what love "should" be, that makes it seem so complex. Maybe we could all use some time getting back in touch with our 3 year old selves, who knew love could be found in a look, or a smile, or even shared silence.
My son has made me more mindful about the love I show myself and those around me, because it is so much than the words we say.