Our lips say "I LOVE YOU" and the words return to us as if they rebounded off some invisible barrier.
I watch your facial expressions as your Mother speaks words, which it seems, you would rather not hear.
I imagine I hear unseen fingers, drumming out a bored rhythm in my brain as I watch your eyes stare blankly off into the space somewhere over her head.
Your actions say "My God! It’s another one of their lectures" and you just tolerate the words long enough to appease our need to say them.
Today, as I gave thought to the present situation, guilt crept in and pointed an accusing finger at me.
It said something was missing in our attempts at showing our love for you through our deeds, or else, we would have no need to say them; you would know without them being said.
I know pain in my heart at your defiant attitude and you can't hear the sound of it breaking over the volume of your sharp replies to what you perceive as unjust criticism of your recent behavior.
I paused and called upon some of my most cherished memories to act as a soothing balm for the pain I was feeling at that moment.
You were but a toddler, dressed only in thin curls of hair and soggy training pants. Standing at my feet with out-stretched arms, which said in our own special language, "Pick me up Daddy!" I complied, ignoring the cold, dampness on my supporting forearm, because I felt that the reward of holding you close was a reward worthy of any sacrifice.
I was not disappointed, as your chubby arms encircled my neck, and nose tip to nose tip, you said "I love you Daddy."
I never doubted it for a moment, but to hear it expressed in your own childish tongue, touched my parents heart as only a child can.
The years have brought so much change. Your natural beauty has grown, right along with the new, adult attitude I see in you now.
I understand the turmoil that seethes within. It calls you, urging you to be free and independent from all our rules and boundaries, the limitations we impose, and Yes! To feed the desires which scream at you from within.
Please! Do not hate us for loving you enough to be overly protective.
If our words seem harsh, please try to understand where they come from. They are born out of fear, knowing what the world can do to a young, inexperienced adult. We are confused, feeling that we do not deserve the reaction we have witnessed of late.
We do not understand how you can so readily accept an "I Love You" from some strange, young man, bearing flowers, and just shrug off and forget all the ways your Mother and I have demonstrated our love for you, each and everyday.
We want to share our lives with you, as unexciting and dull as they seem to you right now and we want you to share what little time remains for you as a resident part of our home with us.
Don't shut us out now. You will have plenty of opportunity to do that when you are trying to cope with your own home and family later on.
If you will allow us to, we will continue to love, worry and fret, shelter, feed and clothe you. We will gladly supply every need we possibly can until the day you leave us and begin your new life out in the world. And after that; whether you want us to or not; we will still go on loving you.