Drive Safe

Through all of Kramer’s cancer we have both been trying to deal with the wide range of emotions that comes with this.  Everything is so much more and so much bigger.

Let me start this story back a little further….back to my childhood…back to Kramer’s childhood.

I grew up in a family that wasn’t big on emotions.  Once I went to school I don’t ever remember getting a hug.  I don’t ever remember being told that I was loved.  Really, that never bothered me.  I knew I was loved.  I knew my mom and dad cared for me.  I didn’t ever think anything different.  I thought that was how life was.

I can vividly remember my older sister having a baby.  Mom, Dad and I went to the hospital to see the baby.  My main memory of the whole event was that my dad kissed my sister on the cheek.  I don’t remember the baby.  I don’t remember anything else about the event other than my Dad kissing my sister on the cheek.

Affection like that was so rare in my family.  That simple kiss on the cheek was memorable.

When I went to college my roommate thought this was odd (didn’t you Lori??)  She was very encouraging of me to tell my mom that I loved her.  Honestly, I thought Lori was weird because she did told her parents and grandparents  she loved them.  She always was hugging them when they came for a visit.  It was just weird to me.

Honestly…I didn’t feel any less loved that our family wasn’t affectionate, but it really bothered Lori.

Later I met Kramer…  He came from a house much like mine.  His parents weren’t affectionate.  They didn’t say “I love you”.  But, like me, he knew his parents loved him.

So fast forward to present day.  I regularly tell the kids I love them.  I am an occasional hugger.  I don’t hug the kids every time I see them but if the occasion warrants a hug, I hug them.   When I do hug them, they know I don’t do it a lot so it’s meaningful.

Kramer, as you might suspect, is not a hugger.  He doesn’t hug the kids.  He doesn’t say “I love you”.  Because of that, in the beginning of all of this cancer stuff, it was a little awkward for the kids…and for him.  Everyone suddenly wanted their feelings known.  They wanted to say “I love you”…but frankly, after all these years, didn’t know quite how.

I’m sure there are some of you who can completely relate to all of this.  I know some of you live this….I also know that others of you are like my roommate Lori’s family.

So…one day we were driving home from a trip to Lacrosse.  I was on the phone talking to Kayla telling her the latest news about his upcoming plan.  Kramer was driving.  Kayla said, “Tell Dad I love him…but if that’s awkward, just tell him ‘Drive Safe’ “.  So I hung up with her and I said to Kramer, “Kayla says I’m suppose to tell you that she loves you…but if that makes you feel awkward, she says, ‘Drive Safe’.”

Kramer and I both bust out laughing.  It was the ice breaker to the conversation of being more affectionate that we all needed.  To be honest, it seemed like saying something as simple as “I love you”, was an elephant in the room.

We are a strong family who honestly will do anything for the others in the family…ANYTHING.  We prove our love for each other daily.  Our love comes through actions, gifts, long conversations, and in every other way except the actual three words, “I love you”.

So now that the ice is broken and the story of Kayla’s initial “Drive Safe” conversation has been spread to all of the other kids, things have changed around here.

Kramer and the kids are regularly now telling each other to “Drive Safe”.  It’s so cute….all of them say it with a little giggle behind the words.  Everyone knows what the words really mean, yet none of them say the real words.  In a way…I love the words “Drive Safe” even more than “I love you”.  For them, the words all have more meaning because they all know, it’s now the quick “I love you” so many people say without really thinking it through.  “Drive Safe” has been thought through and is very meaningful to all of them.  None of them say it without thinking about the words behind it.

37 thoughts on “Drive Safe”

  1. Now you have me in tears…….going through a cancer mess in our family….going to call my sister and tell her to drive safely. Thanks for sharing

  2. My family must have been from same era as you two Kramers. My niece’s husband just loves to try and hug my sister. Drives her nuts and makes me laugh. So from me to you DRIVE SAFE

  3. Such a great story, but I have to say the love the Kramers have for each other shines through every post you write.
    Drive safe!

  4. I’m glad your family has a special phrase to share the thought of love. Just hearing the phrase “I love you” does not always make you feel loved, especially when it is not accompanied by acts that show caring. I appreciate the time you spend writing your blog and all that you share. You and your family remain in my prayers.

  5. “Drive Safe” is GOOD. I come from a hugging/kissing family and am grateful for that. No one knows what a day might bring and we’ve always lived with kisses/hugs/phone checks/visits. Works for us!

    I hope both of you continue to get good reports/results on your treatments.

  6. Mary Ann Mettler

    I enjoy getting hugs and you show your affection in actions. All is good as long as you ‘drive safe’ too ;).


    My dad and I always said “you behave now” at the end of every conversation which was our I love you. My last words to him was “you behave now.” I believe he’s in my guardian angel, (maybe behaving or maybe not!) That was our “drive safe!”

  8. This is a sweet story. I love how your family expresses their love to others in your family. I came from the same era and back ground when parents didn’t say, “I love you”. My mother died when I was 13. My Dad had his hands full raising 6 kids. He provided very well for us and that is LOVE. I tell my kids I love them all the time, because I wished I had told my Mom before she died.

  9. My family was much the same. My parents were not affectionate and didn’t say those words. We knew we were loved just the same. My family’s equivalent of drive safe is “watch for deer”!

  10. Wonderful story. Made me think of the “mow lawn” story you previously shared. You have a wonderful family.

  11. Lori Sparks Douglas

    Hugs from MN! Glad Kayla broke the ice. Happy the Kramers Drive Safe. There are so many ways to show our love to our families. Enjoy Easter and family, my friend! Blessing on all of you!

  12. Actions speak louder than words. Your family is proof of it. You are always there for each other. I envy you, in a good way of course. :)

  13. What a great story! Your family’s love for one another is obvious in their caring for one another. My family, like yours, was quite reserved. I was uncomfortable with all the “group hugs” and “you look like you need a hug” that was in my workplace as a teacher, because there was little real caring behind it. This journey you are on has touched so many people! Thank you for this glimpse of your lovely family.

  14. This story brings tears to my eyes. Before my mother became sick we never said the words either. When Mom passed we started saying to each other and my dad. When I would tell my dad I loved him, he would say same here dear. That phrase was so special to me. Then daddy got sick and the phrase changed to ‘You know I love you’. This is a very special to me. Keep showing each other everyday that you love each other. Praying for you and your family.

  15. I’m one of those from Lori’s family and I married a guy from Kramer and Kramer’s!! Huge adjustment on my part until I “fixed” it. Ha! Now they speak when I walk in the door!! Drive Safe!

  16. Thank you so much for writing this with such honesty. I think that’s why I love your blog. My childhood was similar to yours. I knew I was loved but was always told our family was “cold Germans” who didn’t like to express affection. I am still not a touchy-feely person. Everyone who knows me knows not to hug me. I’m very happy for people who love to hug and say, ‘I love you,’ but I wish people would stop judging me for not wanting to do the same. We use similar types of ‘code words’ in our family and we do all love each other very much, but we just don’t put it on display.

  17. My Dad would send me a note or letter and always sign it Take care or Have a good week. That was his way of telling me he love me. He was so wonderful! There are many way to tell someone they are loved. Happy Easter to you and your family! Drive Safe!

  18. That’s a lovely story and it’s pretty much what my life was like. The past couple of years I’ve only just started to tell my kids, I love them. They have always known it but I never used to actually tell them. I’m glad I do now! Drive safe

  19. My parents weren’t huggers but I am married to a family of huggers and I love them dearly. I love reading about your family and am sending prayers your way. Drive Safe!!!

  20. What a sweet story. Love can be shown in so many ways. From reading your blog, no one would ever have doubted the love your family has for one another. Hoping that you all continue to “drive safe.”

  21. I also was raised in a home where it was “understood” that we were loved. I remember once after my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he told me “You know I love you and if that changes, I’ll let you know.” We always told him how much we loved him after that diagnosis and he never was comfortable with it. My mother was an orphan at the age of 9 or so and was very “needy” for affection. Because my husband came from a home with no affection (his mother was widowed three times…my husband’s father died when he was 2 years old), he and my Mom really clicked. My mother adored my husband. He would wrap her up in a big hug every time we saw her (and that was a lot). All that said, we were both determined that our two sons would know that they are loved unconditionally and we never talk to either of them without saying “I love you.” One never knows what tomorrow brings. Thanks for sharing this because I’m sure a lot of people don’t understand. You probably changed some thinking. Prayers to your family!

  22. First of all I want to say that all of you are in my prayers. I was raised in a family that said I love you all the time and we were very dysfunctional .Most of us don’t even speak to each other. I think showing it means so much more than saying it. Thank you for sharing your life with us. We don’t have cancer in our family, but I was a Respirtory therapist for 25 years , so I know about it. Again, your family is in my prayers. Happy Easter!

  23. Just found your blog a few months ago, but each post feels like a letter from an old friend. Thank you for sharing your life with me. Reading about your strength through hardships shows your deep faith. It’s nice to know there are still families like yours around. I pray for all of you, Drive Safe!

  24. Awe what a sweet story. Everyone shows love in different ways. On my Dad’s side of the family they were pinchers or pats on the rear. If Grandpa/Dad walked by and didn’t give you a pinch or a pat you knew you were in deep do-do. Today I’m sure they couldn’t get away with it but oh the sweet memories. Grandpa passed away right after patting Grandma on the rear. My Dad passed away right after pinching my Mom on the rear. Yep good memories.

    So for your family Drive Safe.

    Me I’m a love, hugs and prayers.

  25. A wonderful thing about your family is that all of them have been loved and felt love. And now you have a catch phrase to prove it.
    Drive Safe – I love it.

  26. Oh Jo and Kramer! Your family is way too familiar! DH and I did grow up in an ‘I love you!’ Huggie era even tho you are younger than we are. We just knew. Didn’t need to be told or hugged! But, those words to the kids when they leave us to go driving back to Michigan….drive safe! The last words we say after our hugs! But …. drive safe…has. Loaded meaning! Love you! Take care and drive safe tomorrow!

  27. Judith Fairchild

    Oh but I know what you’re talking about our family never said I love you. We have only started in the last few years to say the words and mean them. I worked hard to learn to say I love you and to hug my daughter. for some reason it’s easier with the Grands. I don’t always say it. But when they leave for school I do say “be careful, be good and have fun. I like the ” Drive safe” it says it all thanks for sharing.

  28. Kramer and Kramer,

    My dad was never one to verbalize his feelings. He was a very teasing type of dad, who would often tickle or tease you in some way that was physical – a little love pinch on the knee if you sat next to him while watching tv. His catchphrase instead of “I love you” was “Be Good” – often said when I went back to college after being home for the weekend. But I always knew I was loved. After all, I am one of 11 children – nothing says love like lots of siblings. :>)

  29. Pingback: Drive Safe. – The Pink Shoelaces

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