What else could I choose for the meditation on the day before Valentine's Day than this. Saying "I love you" is so simple for most children. Said from the heart by a child in care it can be a prize beyond measure.
He meant it. He said the words, "I love you." He said them first. Not after we said it to him. He said it first. It was so wondrously special. Not because it was the first time he said it. He has said it before. When he first came he said it all the time. Automatically, like some people say, "Have a good day." Said it without really understanding what it is supposed to mean. Said it without meaning it. He knew it. We knew it. But he said it anyway. They he didn't say it at all for a long time. Then it gradually reappeared. Like tiny glowing fireflies at night, a mment here and another moment there. But unlike fireflies, it always came in response to something. Response to us saying, "I love you." An over-the-shoulder response to the school bus' arrival. Or, because he was heading to bed, or saying goodbye. This was so different. Unexpected. Without particular reason. He just walked in and said, "I love you guys." Then, seeming shyly and embarrassed added, "I just thought you should know." He said, "I love you." He meant it.
Excerpted from "The Caring Heart Speaks: Meditations for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents" by Gail Underwood Parker Artwork by Anna Parker David from the book cover.