I Don't Know If I Love You

I don't know if I love you.

I don't know what those words mean.

But I can tell you that you are my sun
that the day does not truly begin until you rise
and the warmth that is like a halo around you beams down on me
and holds my pajama-ed body next to yours.
You are my sun.

I don't know if I love you, but you are my moon.
When night comes
whether it is the darkening of the sky for the entire world 
or just for me as I become
once again
lost in emotions 3, no 4, times my size
struggling against the waves of my own tears
agitated rapids 
the undertow of the moment pulling me down
taking me prisoner
fighting for breath and rights
you, a beacon of light wax bright and steady
guiding me home.

I don't know if I love you, but you are my tree.
Rich with good things.
Plump fruit in the form of kisses
your palm glides across my head
through my hair.
You caress my cheeks with your branches.
When the world swirls too fast and loud
I know I can always find shelter at the base of your trunk
and shade under your fronds.
You purify the air around me.
You are my tree.

I don't know if I love you, but your voice is my song.
There is a place in the deepest part of me
that only your tune can unlock
that only your tune can stir.
When you laugh it's a cool breeze on a sweaty day.
I want another and another
and become a puppet entertainer
doing anything to hear that tinkling giggle.
When you're angry, it's a wintery blizzard.
I feel the chill in my bones and the ice on my face
but then even, I move closer to you for comfort from you.
When you're sad, it's a quiet low whistle 
and I pull myself into your lap
drawing long ribbons of whatever ails you out through your heart
throwing them down on the floor.

I don't know if I love you
because I've heard others use those words
and since they can't possibly have what we do
they must not be enough.

But in the off chance that I do
since I'm not sure 
it's seems right that I should say it
so, mama
I love you. 

Happy Mother's Day

I wrote this


  1. Not what I was expecting from the title, but so much better. I love reading all of these posts!

  2. Grown man in tears, beautiful.......

  3. Awwwww, what a sweetie.

  4. So, yes, I appreciate the sappy over-the-topness of this poem and eye-rolled my way through....but...my son turns 13 this Sunday and when I got to the last two stanzas, it was all about the ugly crying.

  5. Spectacular and very moving.

  6. I credited you, because I had to print this out and slip it into the card for my wife. Thanks for making me weep quietly at my desk!

  7. I have an intellectually disabled four year old who can't say I love you yet. This poem, it made me sob, in a really good way. Thank you.

    1. We're in similar situations. I make a running dialogue for him, in my head, and he often sounds like HT. I can't stop crying, in a good way.

  8. Beautiful and poignant, as my toddlers are now 19 and 20.

  9. Beautiful-now my makeup is wrecked. Thanks.

  10. My 4 year old constantly tells me that he hates me so this makes me feel a little better inside

  11. As a writer, I love this side of your writing voice. As a mom of a developmentally delayed 4-year old who also has not found the ability to say "I love you," this was incredible. Thank you.

  12. You should get an illustrator and publish this as a picture book.

  13. Wow. You always make me laugh, and now you've made me cry. Beautiful.

  14. I came here for a laugh and had a cry instead. :-)

    Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

  15. Thank you - especially since my 4-year-old physically delayed (but smart beyond her years) daughter told me this morning, "I no like you no more, 'kay? You go 'way now" when I made her do therapy. You made my morning. Thank you.

  16. And i'm teary-eyed at the doctor's office!!!

  17. That could have been written by my son, and now I understand him so much more clearly. You may have just changed my life.

  18. Once my eyes dried, I noticed that this post is tagged "Moms" and "paleo" and I chuckled. Thank you.

  19. Amazing. Truly, deeply amazing.

    As a mom who suffered with crushing PPD, and still feels like she failed her child by not connecting right away, this is a beautiful reminder that we're ok.

  20. Love this - tearing up at my desk.

  21. You consistently make me choke with laughter; now I choke with tears.

  22. good grief, HT. Warn a person. Sobbing uncontrollably. That was beautiful.

  23. Beautiful. This will be distributed (with credit to you) to all my loves ones this Mother's Day. Thank you!

  24. Oh, that gets me, right in the heart.

  25. This is so beautiful...tears of joy beautiful..thank you HT

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  27. This was so amazing. I don't even know what to do with it. I have to figure out something.

    I wish every mother everywhere could read this.

  28. Just stop it. No, actually DON'T. I'm not much of a poem gal, except for this one. This is the most amazing one I have ever read. This is just light that just moved through you and into words while you got out of the way. Thank you for sharing this. I have two amazing little boys, both with autism and they can't really talk much. I certainly heard them in these words though. Thank you. Best, Chrissy www.lifewithgreyson.blogspot.com

    1. I'm tearing up again reading your message!! I'm glad this poem could speak to you for your beautiful boys <3

  29. Awesome poem - love it!!

  30. I'm up at 3am to pump because I've been sick and unable to nurse for 14 hours and this is EXACTLY what I needed. Thank you.

  31. You're killin' me here! But, yes...book. put me on the advance order list.

  32. Since both of my children are gone this was such a comfort for me. I haven't cried this much for a long time

  33. I did not see that coming. Thank you- it's beautiful. I don't usually miss my kids five minutes after they've gone to bed. Resisting the urge to wake them up for another hug.

  34. I've just had to come back here three times to finish it...all three I've been sobbing by 5 lines in. This has made my Mother's Day.

  35. My toddler has been oh so clingy lately. I needed this. What a perfect poem.

  36. Loved it!


  37. So sweet

  38. Funny interactive Cowboy Skeleton Dance in 3D for your entertainment
    Fun for everyone.

  39. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=toddlerknitrendedonderkids.cracklingignislrakandecrepitarfirelectric.lightningtoypalotonnerredonner.vonkenfunkenmaluchtorresmo

  40. Beautiful and very inspiring! Words are not enough to express your love for someone who is very special. Thanks for sharing!


thanks - HT