My mom and I had a secret – well, I know we had many secrets – but this is one I am going to share with you. My mom and I could tell each other “I love you” without speaking a word. We could do it amongst a crowd and no one would know. I can’t even remember the first time my mom taught me how. I just always remembered it to be this way, back to my first memories.

We would hold hands and she would squeeze my hand three times, and that meant, “I love you.” (Pause for me to go get a Kleenex because the tears are now flowing.) And then I would squeeze back three times, telling her, “I love you.” And that was it. Something so small shared between us that meant so much.

And I have now taught Arrine this. I told her how Grandma Anne-Marie and I would hold hands and squeeze our special messages to each other. She caught on right away, squeezing my hand after I squeezed hers. Now, if someone saw the two of us, they could probably tell something was going on, as she hasn’t quite mastered the non-conspicuity of the idea yet. She usually stops walking, looks me in the eye and nods her head slightly with each squeeze. Which just makes me love her more.

But the best part of the Secret “I Love You”? Was when she initiated it herself for the first time the other week. I had a little inside cry while I squeezed her hand back, three times, “I love you”.