"Mummy I missed you and wanted to talk to you."
I was going home after a work function in London and talking to him made me smile on the late night drive home. He told me he was having a wedding the next day and could he have a ring to give Ava. I suggested he might want to take her to get a ring so she could choose herself. That was what me and daddy did when we got married. I also asked why we hadn't been invited and he said,
"Oh you can come if you like."
"Well. I'm at work. If you had told me earlier I could have taken the time off to come. I would like to come to your wedding."
"When I get married when I'm 18 or 19 or 20 I will invite you and Daddy. That will be my real wedding."
"Ok that sounds good. Thanks."
"I'll wait for you to come home so I can hug you."
"It might be quite late. You go to bed and I promise I will come and kiss you when I am home."
"Ok Mummy. I love you."
"I love you too baby."
Love is in the air as the song goes. At the moment you can't get away from it on the TV, in magazines, it's everywhere. The red roses, dine in offers, chocolates and cards. I have bought cards to give my boys and if they want to give a card to someone special I have the covered too. I say "I love you" to my boys all the time. They hear it a lot, but I also want them to know how special it is to feel loved. That reassurance you have that you are cared about and matter.
It isn't always plain sailing with Brown Bear. We argue a lot. I apologise to him a lot. I often reassure him that I love him more than I am annoyed with him. That my upset is borne of fear. When he was a toddler if he wandered off I would panic he was lost and my heart would stop. Until he was back in my arms and I would be upset and angry, but also overcome with love for him. That is how I feel now when we have a falling out. All that love and frustration melds into one big noisy mass. I try to explain to Brown Bear that love isn't always kissing and holding hands. If only it was.
In the evening I sit with Brown Bear and he reads his book next to me while I rest. Neo lies by my feet and we spend time together. It's become clear to me that for Brown Bear love means being close and present. It doesn't matter what we are doing, just that he is with me. Sometimes he will sit with his Match Attax book sorting out the cards. I check messages or fold washing and we just chat to each other while Hubbie reads a bedtime story to Blue Bear. One evening last week we were talking about when he was a baby. I told him that one of the happiest days in my life was when we found out we were having him. I didn't know he was going to be a boy or what we would call him. I just knew that I loved him so very much. He said, "and when Blue Bear came to us." "Well you were there when we found out he was coming to live with us." We talked about how precious they both are to me and Daddy.
"Who do you love the most Mummy ?"
"Hmm. Probably Neo."
"No seriously Mummy."
"I'm being serious. He was my first baby."
"What about Daddy ?"
"Well of course Daddy. Without Daddy I wouldn't have you, or Blue, or Neo."
"What was your happiest day ?"
"Probably when you were born safe and well."
"And when you and Daddy got married."
"Yes it was."
"And when Blue came to live with us."
"Yes that was very special."
I talk to my son about love, because I love with all my heart and I suspect he will too. He will be open to have his heart broken and to get taken for granted. I want to wrap him up and protect him from feeling the pain, but I know I can't do that. Instead I can share the beauty of love and what it means to me.
Being present - either in person or in thought. I think about the people I love all the time. I hear a song, I see a familiar image, I pass a place and it reminds me of someone I love.
When my parents took me to Uni and dropped me off on my first day. As they drove away and I walked over to the students union I was terrified. Mum told me years later that dad drove only a little way along the road, stopped the car and burst into tears.
Hubbie made such an impression on my late grandmother when we went to India that she declared, "well of course he's Indian." She didn't speak English and his Punjabi is minimal yet they spent an afternoon watching cricket together and formed an incredibly close bond. When she died it meant everything to me that she loved him too.
After years of infertility I finally gave my mum the news that I was pregnant. She had tears in her eyes as she told me, "I prayed for this." I took her hands and said, "Thank you, it worked."
On a Sunday morning when Hubbie goes for a bike ride Brown Bear watches match of the day downstairs and Blue Bear lies in my bed watching cartoons. I point out the green birds in the garden and he declares, "it's the parrotinis" - makes my heart melt every time.
Not forgetting the old man of the family. Neo looks out for me when I am not home. He lies with the boys until they go to sleep and quietly slips away when they are. He puts his head against me and purrs softly. It tells me that I am loved.