Joe: Mumma! Mumma! Mumma! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?
Me: Yes, for heaven’s sake. Don’t shout. Talk like a person, Joe. I’m right here.
Joe (serious eyes): Mumma. Now. If you buy me more little legos, my will love you more. Way more. But if you don’t buy me more little legos, my will not be happy and maybe not talk to you ANYMORE AT ALL EVER.
Me: Well, I’d settle for a few minutes of silence but if you need ANYMORE AT ALL EVER that’s fine, too.
Joe: Really, Mumma. My mean it.
Me: Joe-bear, that is not how love works. If you’re bad or mad or sad, do I stop loving you?
Joe: No. But you sometimes yell at me.
Me: Not the point, focus with me here. Okay. If you love someone, you don’t only love them because of what they do or buy for you. You love them because you love them, period. That’s how I love you, right? Always forever up to the moon and back, no matter what. So even if you’re not making good choices, I still love you. If you’re being good or bad, I love you. If you’re sad or happy, I love you. If you’re silly or sleeping, I love you. Love is deep and wide and always, Joe-sie.
Joe: That’s right. You do. Love is always – even if I’m happy or bappy or sappy or cappy or…. (continues rhyming all the nonsense words of “-appy” for a while until I think I better wrap it up.)
Me: So. No legos today. And no legos tomorrow. You have plenty and that’s that. And now you don’t get to stop loving me because I didn’t buy you legos today. And you don’t love me more on your birthday if you do get legos. Got it?
Joe (thoughtfully): Got it. But Mumma, maybe for things like that, I’m just in the shallow end of love, not the deep end you said. Because my really love little legos in the always way.
P.S. Full disclosure: within 5 minutes, he was back to asking for more little legos.