The other day I told Button I loved her, but I could tell that she wasn’t really receiving it. And that made me think… “Button, are you sure of my love for you?”

She thought about it for a second and then shook her head.

That really surprised me. For all the affection I show my kids, all the times I tell them I love them, the ways I intentionally build them up… is it really possible that they don’t know how much I love them?

So right then and there, I came up with this little saying, which I’ve made a point to say to each kid, individually, every day. It’s what I want my kids to know about how I feel for them, and I want it buried into their subconsciousness so that they are sure of my love for them throughout their lives:

I love you.
Even when you make mistakes,
Even when you’re bad,
I love you.
Even if you make me angry,
Even if you make me sad,
I love you.
You are so important to me, and
I am very proud of you.

The first time I said it to Button, she resisted hearing it. But I made her. And at the end, she looked up at me and softly asked, “Can you say it again, Mama?” So I said it again. For two more times after that, she asked if I could repeat it. And by the end, she had curled up in my lap with her head on my chest.

I had no idea that she needed such strong assurances about my love for her.