I asked the kids the other night at dinner about love. Boyd was out for work and I was trying to prolong the family dinner experience – I often have this thought if I can keep them at the table longer without crumbling beneath the pure weight of the EMOTIONS at the table maybe they won’t do drugs or get pregnant in high school or battle an eating disorder or plagiarize or ever be lost or heartbroken or assholes because they will feel so secure and connected and attached and sure of their place in the world – because you know, they had a place at the table. Truth be told, I can’t wait for someone to say, “Can I be excused?” Because it’s weird if the mother says it first. And once one person asks, I can see the light at the end of the sibling-rivalry tunnel and I relax. All of the sudden, I feel totally fine about sex and drugs and lying and suffering – because…well, it’s part of life – and I would love to live mine without so many young people arguing and vying for my attention and creating a lot of ANXIETY in this fairly small, circular space.
Mimi responds first, “Love? I got nothing….”
I giggle. “I doubt that – give it a minute, I bet you’ll get some ideas.”
Myles slumps back in his chair, “Do we have to talk about love?”
“You can choose not to – I’m simply asking a question because I’m sick of hearing y’all argue and I am genuinely curious about what you think. I want to have a conversation.” He groans.
“First of all, love is a FEELING,” Ryan announces. “God made it because he felt something for us – and he made more people so we could feel it for each other. Love is about being together and you can love anything you want to love.”
“And…” Mimi raises her voice. “There are different kinds of love and love makes you happy. You can’t hold it – it’s not 3-D. You can see it and feel it and….”
“You can’t see it,” Ryan interrupts.
“Can I be excused?” Myles says.
“Yep, you sure can,” I say. He smiles. I feel love.
“Yes, you can see it,” Mimi insists. “…you can look at it. When I see Mommy on the floor with Luca (our dog), I am LOOKING at love.”
“Okay. All right. Before y’all get into an argument about it – you’re both right. Love is a feeling AND love is an action.”
“Love means you’re connected,” Ryan says.
“And love is friendship,” Mimi adds.
Myles throws a ball against the wall and Mimi explodes – “stop it!” which makes me jump in my seat it’s so loud. “Not okay – you cannot yell like that in the house,” I have my hand on my heart.
“He can’t throw the ball in the house,” she snaps back.
“Well, he can…” I don’t have hard and fast rules about balls in the house so it’s confusing. I am sort of soft and slow with all of my rules, actually. “…because I’m inconsistent about ball-rules.”
“I know,” Ryan says. I smile again. I feel like I’m about to get the giggles. Ryan would do great with a consistent mother. I think it’s funny that she didn’t get one. Life is funny like that – for all of us.
Mimi explodes again, “MYLES! Stop with the ball!”
“Okay, calm down, Mimi. Myles, take the ball outside, please.”
“Fine,” he stomps toward the front door and we hear it slam shut.
A wake of silence rolls through the room and Ryan says softly, “I have another idea about love.” I nod. “When you make things for people, that is love. Like I made a card for Daddy the other day – I wanted him to know I love him.”
“That’s right. Your creativity is an EXPRESSION of love – it’s an action you take to show love. Do you know the word expression?” I ask the girls.
“Yeah, of course we do,” Mimi says sort of sassy but I let it go.
“Mommy?” Ryan stands up and puts her arm around my neck, “I think love is the most important thing.”
“It is – love is the most important thing. I like to think of it as Continue reading Do It For Love