Thursday, April 4, 2013

"I Like You"

Last weekend I stepped out of the bathroom after a nice, hot shower to find this on the wall in the hallway, written in bold black on red paper~

"I LIKE YOU"

It was a nice thing to see.

I like you. Isn't that what we all want to hear, even from people we might not necessarily like ourselves?

I like you. I think about how my stepmother says it to her grandsons, how her voice lets you know that she thinks you are pretty darn special. The way she says it, it means something. It's as if she's telling you something that is really important to her and so it is going to be important to both of you.

We say "I love you" almost by rote to our family. Joe and I close most conversations-- even those grocery store "did you want the red potatoes or yellow potatoes" phone calls end with that phrase. But "I like you" says more. It goes beyond the bonds of filial love; it goes to a place where one says "I take pleasure in you, who you are-- in being with you."

Why do we like people? My guess is that it's really about how those people make us feel about ourselves while we are in their presence. We feel good, valued, trusted... important to them. My favorite "I like yous" have nothing to do with what I've done for someone. Instead, they are in those little moments, playing a game, building something together, working on a project or just being. 

Sometimes, a smile says it. And sometimes, when Mama has disappeared into the bathroom after a bit of frantic run-around getting chores done, it is great thing to see taped on the wall when she comes out. There it floats, surrounded by white paint at my eye level. I wonder how he could have reached up so high, and I wonder what else he can do that I don't know about.  Life is full of surprises, and this is the nicest one I've had in a while.

I like you, too.

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