I'm with Cynda. I'll call each of my kids regularly, though not often. When I get voice mail (which is often) I simply say I had no reason for calling, was just thinking of them and miss and love them. And, of course, I'm extremely demonstrative and everyone gets multiple hugs every time I see them!
Unlike Cynda and I'm not criticizing. I have no step-anything. When a distinction has to be made, I say I have five kids - four by birth, one by marriage. And I'm equally proud of all five of my grand kids, no matter from which of my kids they come.
I try to show my children that they are loved and needed and appreciated, by asking for their help. We also will give them a little money, for no reason. We "hire" the grandchildren to help out with yard work and things like that.
We are taking 4 out of the 5 children (with their spouse), and some of the grandchildren (all but 3 out of 14) on a cruise in August. Just because they need a break and can't afford to go on their own.
Invite your adult child over to spend the night. Have an old fashioned sleep over. Have popcorn while watching favorite rented movie. Make fudge or bake cookies (if diet allows). Hang out in pajamas. Have fun and be sure to share stories with them about their youth.
My mom passed away from bone cancer at the age of 47 of which she found out about and suffered from it for 7 years prior too. She had 3 girls and I was the middle one. The last 3 years of her life were spent going to have 4 hour chemo treatments very often. During this time mom would tell us girls more often that she loved us. Growing up her & dad would only say those words once in a while. I remember as a child even through my teenage years that I would say it alot to them wanting the same feedback and would sometimes receive the words back but most of the time they would say me too or same here. When the doctor told my mom she had less than 3 weeks to live she decided she wanted to pass away in her home verses the hospital.
So we girls stayed with her 24/7 during that time and the first week mom was alert enough to talk and we all did so alot and she ask us girls did she tell us enough that she loved us. We told her we knew we were loved. Even though I would of liked to hear the words more often I would not tell my mom that she did not say it enough on her time of death. For I know she doubted herself or would not of ask that question. I realize as I was younger with my child I could of said it more.
It's only when you do get older or loose your mom or dad that you realize the value of those 3 words I love you. I now say it too much to my family probably. But I want no regrets from them not knowing. My daughter now is like my mom when most times she will only say me too or I have to say it first to hear it received. I know she loves me but I never said it enough while she was growing up for her to say it more or first. It's true that they say"we reep what we sow".
I give them hugs whenever I see them, walk with my arm around them & tell them how much I love them each time I send them an e-mail. I have 3 biologic children & a stepdaughter & each one has no doubt how strongly I feel about them. I think this is because I set the foundation when they were young!
I have a funny story: Long ago when my kids were much younger I asked each child in turn individually which child they thought I loved the most. My daughter (then 16) said "Cody, because he's the baby, the youngest" & Cody (then 8) said "Melissa because she's the only girl". I then asked my oldest, Michael (then 22) & he said "Me!" This just shows I didn't favor any one of them over another & I think that this is VERY important. In fact, I've learned from my mom. She is VERY careful that she ALWAYS gives my sister the same thing she gives me or something of similar value. She makes sure never to take sides & makes sure we know that she loves us both the same. It's so important to never favor one child or leave one child out!
I have a friend that has a mom who has always favored 2 of her 3 girls & this friend has always felt left out & unloved by her mother. She invited her mom to her newly purchased home & her mom couldn't make the time to come (but she will go to the other 2 girls houses) If her mom would just take her aside & tell her that she is special to her & loved this would heal her wounds. instead resentment has built up. This gal was our real estate agent when we sold our family house & she always remarked on how nice it was my mom didn't have favorites among her 2 children. But it's also my friends fault because she also should open communication & tell her mom how left out she feels. Communication is SO VERY IMPORTANT!
Also, stop by & see your kids whenever you can. Maybe take one at a time to lunch or take one child at a time garage-saleing son a Saturday. Call them once in a week or send them a quick e-mail that says "I'm thinking about you & I love you bunches!" You don't have to talk on the phone very long, just say "I was calling to say I love you!" Be supportive of their choices (even if you don't agree with them). You can say you'd do something differently, just let them fight their own battles & don't be nosey. Treat your grown children like you'd like to be treated!
Forwarding funny emails, leaving small gifts on their cars at work, sending e cards, always hugging when we are together, making jewelry (my hobby) for daughter, 2 granddaughters, daughter-in-law, buying cookbooks for aspiring pastry chef grandson, hiring son to do handyman chores, asking them to care for our cats and bring in the mail when we travel.
We are a retired couple in our late 60's, with a son, 43, a daughter, 34, 3 grandchildren. 30, 25, 17.
It is at 38 years old and with a Mother lost, to breast cancer/ diabetes, 5 years ago that I now realize it is important to hug each other even at this ripe age.
I miss the chance to touch her as a child to a parent.
I miss the chance to share stories of growing up... "Hey Mom you remember when....".
And of course since I have children of my own, I experience thoughts about their lives that only Mom would have any relative input for, like ancestrial medical history, character quirks, heritage traits, etc.
All I can say is make sure the words "I Love You!" translate when they Hear your voice, Feel your presence, See your smile, and reach out to Touch your heart.
If this means you go out to lunch every Sunday and share cold sandwhiches and iced tea at the park, or play cards together on Tuesdays, or catch the matinee movie, it matters not.
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