When I was a kid, my mom would slide her hand into mine and give three quick little squeezes. I don't remember her ever coming out and telling us that it meant 'I love you', but I do remember her whispering it into my ear sometimes as she squeezed.
I loved it when she did it!
A lot of times, it was when we were in a room full of people. I was a shy kid and just knowing we had our own little secret message would make me feel loved and secure.
I, of course, have passed the 'I love you' squeeze onto my boys. (it makes me think of my mom every time I do it.)
Colby has created his own little version where he squeezes 4 times back for 'I love you too.' Other times he comes back with multiple squeezes and I have to ask what the message was because he squeezes many more than 4. He will then whisper it into my ear. I always giggle because it is something long that I would never get... even if I guessed.
This year I have a student, who makes sure I earn my paycheck, yet I love dearly. She doesn't have the greatest home life (her mom died when she was young), so I try to share as much love with her as possible. I give her hugs (along with my other students), but she needs that love to be taken a step further. She hugs me and kisses my cheek and tells me she loves me. I have never had a student kiss me before... at first I was taken back and embarrassed... but then I realized she needs to show that love and know it's okay. She had also gotten in the habit of shouting, "I love you Ms. T!!!" no matter if we were in the classroom or in the hall. So, this week, I introduced her the the 'I love you' squeeze.
I never thought I would share this special thing with a student... I had always imagined that it would be that special thing just for me and my own kiddos...
But this week as she shouted to me down the line in the hallway, I walked up to her and whispered in her ear and said, "This is a special secret squeeze I used with my boys so we can tell each other that we love each other without saying a word. It's called the 'I love you' squeeze and it is just 3 squeezes." and I squeezed her hand 3 times.
Every time I walked passed her for the rest of the week, she would grab my hand and squeeze three times.
I have a feeling that I will be getting a lot more of them the rest of the school year... and I also have a feeling she will pass this tradition down one day to her own children. I hope she thinks of me when she does.
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