How My Dad Says “I Love You!”

My dad is the sweetest man alive.

While I visited my parents this past winter I needed to drive from their tiny mountain village to the closest big city to pick up my husband from the airport.

My dad wanted to serve as my chauffeur, as he usually does when I visit. But, had he done so that day, my mom, who has Parkinson’s disease, would have been left home alone with 9 grandkids to care for.

DadI wished he could come with me, as I love our rare time alone together, but I wasn’t worried about making the drive alone.

My dad, on the other hand, was quite concerned about me making the long, snowy drive.  He knows I’m a SoCal beach girl, and don’t often drive in isolated areas, much less snowy ones.

He told me to wear my tennis shoes for the afternoon drive to the airport.  “You’ll be more comfortable,” he said.

He packed my boots and coat in his car for me. “You never know if the car is going to break down and you’ll need them if it does,” he said.

He sent a water bottle with me.  “It’s cold so it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated and you’ll be gone for 3 or 4 hours,” he said.

He told me to park on the second level of the parking structure at the airport, in the back, on the street side.  “That way you’ll have the shortest walk,” he said.

He demonstrated to me how to work the heater in his car. “You don’t want to over-heat,” he said.

He showed me where the light control switch was located.  “It’ll be starting to get dark before you get there,” he said.

How My Dad Says “I Love You!”He reminded me to use the car mirrors as I backed his car out of his garage. “Use your mirrors. Use your mirrors!” he said.

He was looking out the window when I returned to his house that evening.

He’d worried about me the whole time I was gone.  “The roads get slick here. Black ice can sneak up on you,” he said.

He carried in my coat and my boots from his car. “You’ll want these for your walk in the morning. They’ll be warmer when you put them on if we bring them into the house tonight,” he said.

What he really said, each and every time, was that he loves me.

My dad is “Papa” to 18 grandchildren.

But, he will always be my dad.


How does (or did) your dad tell you he loves you?  How do you tell your kids that you love them?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.


The Beginning
About gina valley

Gina Valley is a humorist who lives in Los Angeles, California with her dear husband (The Professor) & her always adorable seven children (The Pack). She loves to cook, if someone will put the ingredients in those little glass bowls, & spends much of her time carpooling and inventing new curse words (at the same time!). She’s not your typical soccer mom, loves ridiculously high heels, & is addicted to her smart phone. If she’s out of chocolate, run and hide! Connect with Gina at, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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  1. Where was I when you wrote this article, Gina? I completely missed it at the time and just stumbled upon it now. Awesome stuff, I really enjoyed it. My dad just recently became a big sap (around the time I had kids of my own), but back when I was growing up he was the typical working dad. Coming home just before dinner, briefcase in hand, a little quality time while eating and then I was off and out the door before my plate hit the sink to be back with my friends. Reflecting back, his was of showing his love was the through the times he played with my friends and I. Mainly hide and seek, but that was more than enough as my friends and I would go nuts for the times when we were hunted by my dad on those summer nights. In a weird way, the time I ran away from home by jumping on my bike and taking off and he RAN ME DOWN and grabbed my bike from the seat and sent me back to the house with my tail between my leg, yeah, that was even love. These days, he just straight up tells me, which is really cool. How do I tell my kids? By telling them I love them. Maybe it is because they are so young, but I tell them openly how much I love them and we snuggle on the couch more often than not. I rue the day that this changes and they grow up, but for right now, they are my little snuggle bears. (If Rookie is reading this, here is my man-card…again.)

    • Yeah? Where were you, Brad? I thought you were in charge of keeping track of everything I do. Don’t tell me you’ve gone and gotten your own life! ;o)

      I’m so glad you liked it, btw.

      Your dad sounds a lot like mine. I think that whole generation was taught to keep verbal love to a minimum. But, my dad loved to have water fights with us, and to wrestle with us. We used to play hide an seek with him as well. Mine also, I just remembered this (and now I have a new post idea!!!), used to build stuff with us and for us.

      Not sure why that generation was “I love you!” sayers with their kids. Mine, like yours, says it now.

      I think all of our kids benefit from our having experience verbal and non-verbal affirmation. I make it a point to be verbal and to play with my kids. I think they are better off having both the attention and the words.

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