Most mornings, Middle is immovable. I have to make numerous trips to his room to get him up. With increasing volume, I insist that time is passing, school is necessary and the as-yet-undelineated consequences for non-action will be fierce. In the meantime, he groans out some version of “Nooooo…I don’t want to go to school” every time I darken his door.
This morning I tried a new approach.
“Middle, it is time to get up.” Silence. He sleeps.
I ruffle his hair. “Middle, it is seven o’clock.” More silence. Is he even breathing?
“Middle," I kiss his cheek. "I love you.”
Out of the silence. From beneath the covers. “I love you too.”
In the past, I have been known to insist that my boys’ love for me is an automatic love. I would say they have no choice
but to love me, that there is no alternative to loving your mother when you are young. And while I still think this is true, I have come to realize that my saying that has served to deny
and dismiss my own value to them. Perhaps worse, in diminishing their love I have done that love an injustice. It is what they have to offer. Who am I to diminish any form of love? And besides, the older they get, the more say they will have in the matter of loving.