Growing up, my parents never really told me or my sisters "I love you". I actually didn't think it was weird that my parents didn't say it until I went to college and everyone would hang up the phone with, "bye mom. I love you too!" The way I end my phone conversations with my mom is usually, "okay, okay, okay" *click.
So of course when I told my friends that my parents rarely say "I love you" to me, they were all, "oh my gosh.... I'm sorry..." But then I realized that my parents do say it, they just say it in their own way. My parents version of "I love you" is..
"did you eat?"
Yes, I know it's a question... but by asking if I've eaten, my parents are really asking how life is going and in turn, conveying how much they love me and care about me.
Wait... why don't you parents just ask how you're doing, you ask? ...
Because, please. Asking directly would be wayyyy too many feels. Nah, we grow up strong. Roarrrrr.
So instead, my parents speak in code, usually related to food. For example....
Mom: Did you eat? <how are you?>
Mom: Why didn't you eat yet? <something wrong?>
Me: No I'm just lazy.
Mom: You should eat good food <take care of yourself, I'm worried about your health>.
Me: Yeah I know, I'm going to but I'm tired from work.
Mom: If you were here, I'd cook you a meal <I miss you.>
Me: Okay, well I should go eat something.
Mom: Okay! Go eat something! <I love you! Take care of yourself!>
This conversation is usually then followed be some DIRECT, TOUGH love of....
"eat healthy and exercise because if you don't you'll get fat. You're lucky right now because if you gain any more weight... oh my...what are you going to do??"
Thanks mom. Love you too.