I can probably count on one hand the number of times I can remember my Mum saying the words aloud, “I love you”.
And I can count on one hand the number of times I said it aloud to her, most notably only moments before her last breath, and even then, the words felt… foreign.
It wasn’t that I didn’t – I loved her fiercely, painfully, devotedly, adoringly – but that saying those words aloud simply wasn’t the way for our stiff-upper-lipped family.
We don’t *do* words of affirmation, it’s simply wasn’t our love language.
So how did Mum say “I love you” when I would burst in the door, fresh from a three and a half hour drive to see her from TinyTown, crosstitching and TV show recommendations for us to binge in tow?
“Have a banana.”
When I hear for my Mum’s voice, “have a banana” is one of the phrases I can hear most clearly. “Shall I make you something to eat? Why don’t you have an banana?”
You’d think from my lack of being a size-two that our love language was food, but it wasn’t.
It was the act of making that food, of soliciting what you wanted, that was our family’s love language.
And in that simple question, “have a banana”, she showed again and again her love language.
I still giggle when I picture her surreptitiously finding her wallet as I bundled my wee car up for the return three and a half hour car ride, pressing whatever she had inside into my hand without my father seeing.
Inevitably, it was something like four dollars.
Seven dollars was like hitting the lottery.
But it wasn’t four dollars, or the seven, or even the ten.
It was that she gave me every dollar she had before she sent me back out into the world… “for a treat”, she would say with her impish smile, those hazel eyes twinkling.
We didn’t say I love you, we didn’t “hug it out”, so these days when I offer my husband a banana or slip him $20 nonchalantly, I hope he knows what it means…
I love you.
(this one always makes me giggle so…)