A big reason why Teresa waited so long to say those words has to do with her childhood history and her history with Jane. Childhood left her with huge trauma that brought issues of abandonment, trust and commitment. Three times, she was essentially abandoned by her parents, twice by her father. Jane has taken off a number of times without saying when or if he'd be back, once for six months, once for two years. These abandonment issues are specific to Jane, but with a huge burden of childhood trauma banking it. I think it's no wonder she has a hard time saying I love you, even to the love of her life, because of these deep-seated fears. Jane knows this and his main goal with her since Blue Bird has seemed to be to simply love her, attend to her and let her take her time in learning that he is trustworthy and totally committed to her. Everything fell into place between them in Jane helping her with her family on so many levels, and then fitting in with them, enjoying them at the picnic. Everything seemed to fall into place for Lisbon there. She knew she could fully trust Jane and that he would be there for her, committed to her. And it filled her with joy to be able to say those words to Jane in a way she couldn't quite do in Blue Bird, even though she had confirmed that her feelings were the "same" as his. At least, that's my take on it.
Even shouts down that dogma. ;)
Whew! Your description of formal, especially public education is so apt. I call them indoctrination stations. /shivers
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