In which we’re learning love in the deep end


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.


  • Annie Barnett

    Love this a million times over.

  • Dana

    Oh, bless! Dearest Joe, I am sometimes just in the shallow end of love, too. When I should be learning to be in the deep end. You are a wise little man. I also heart things I want from other people a bit too much, when I should just be loving. Thanks for this sweet reminder, Sarah!

  • Holli Carey Long

    My boys are loving that “Deep and Wide” song right now. It’s on a toddler songs DVD we have that they “need” to watch over and over…and over. I love the new connection I have now between that song and this post. Thank you for that.

  • Nikki Webber

    Dear little Joe! Wise advice from the tinies. Perhaps he needs his own blog :-) It’s funny how littles piece together the things that matter with such precision.
    I pinned your Kate Winslet quote last week about body image, and the next day, out of nowhere, my three year old told me I am “the most boo-tiful an’ go-geous” mummy she has ever had. I had never felt more lovely than when my daughter so innocently brought it to my attention.

  • JennaDeWitt

    O man, that’s life ain’t it? Working our way from the shallow end of love to the deep. Sounds so much like a conversation between Abba Father and us, beloved children, doesn’t it?

  • Mizmelly

    Oh thank god I’m not alone! My 5 year old once said ‘Jesus says be kind to others. That means give me what I want!!!!’

  • Lindsay

    Oh my goodness! Here I was afraid I might be the only one getting forever threats from my preschoolers. I love this. Amazing what they say, isn’t it? :-)

  • Katie Noah Gibson

    Love this. Especially since it’s pool season.

  • Linda Stoll

    for sure, ‘happy or bappy or sappy or cappy …’

  • Jerusalem Greer

    love the things kids say. so honest. so funny. so much the better to sink way down into our hearts. plus, now I want to buy his affection with legos. Oh my.

  • Erik Pasco

    More of this please

  • Adele Chapman

    Utterly adorable. Don’t you love the language and cadence kids use? Yesterday the littlies were playing hide and seek and every time one of them finished counting “8, 9 10 . . .” he would add, “Here I come, nothin’ to it!” instead of “ready or not!” Where do they pick up these things? Love them to death. Joe sounds so sweet – I think we would all appreciate a weekly post of his latest exploits! x

  • cjdeboer

    LOL! So cute!!!!

  • Leanne Penny

    Seriously, My just had a chat like this with Noelle the other night. She got out of bed for the 5th time and said it was because she loved me and “always wanted to be with me because she loved me” and then she told me that love means loving each other even when we make bad choices. “We just always love mom, no matter what.”

    I’m sure I cried and said something like.. I love you too and getting up again and again is a bad choice so lets go back to bed.

    Then I kissed her about 12 times and she said “Mom, I think that’s enough kisses for today.”

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  • pastordt

    lovelovelovelove that joe is a keeper