The Opposite of Zero

I’ve been in a game lately with my oldest son (he’s 4.5 and sharp as a tack….that is, when he’s not being a loose-4.5-year-old-cannon).

The game is simple.  I say “how much do I love you?” to which he responds “this much,” as he holds his hands apart a bit.  And I say nope…so he moves his hands even further apart.  Again, nope!  He moves them further still, until we get to the point where his arms are as wide apart as they can get (and he’s full of giggles) – and I still say nope!

And then I gently pull his arms as far behind his back as they will go (comfortably, of course…this is a Love game!), so that they’re almost touching.  And then I still say nope!

“Huh?” you’re thinking, “how is that any fun?”

Because then I say, “I love you all the way as big as your arms can go, and then past that until forever!!”

And then we melt into a pile of laughing and cuddling and tickling and hugging.

See, now that’s fun.

So here’s the thing: the game changed a few days ago.  When I asked him “how much do I love you?” instead of spreading his arms out, he cheekily answered, “zero.”

“Nope!” (I was quick on my feet here…) “I love you the opposite of zero! I love you completely and entirely and always and everything and forever and even more than that!”

And then there were more giggles and tickles and hugs.

Ahhh – it makes me feel good just thinking about it, and knowing that while I’m not remotely a perfect mom, at least these guys are getting the fundamentals: they are loved very, very deeply – and they are shown it a lot.

So I’m feeling pretty good about myself, when this morning he says it again, “you love me zero.”  And my response was, “Silly goose – we’ve been through this…I love you the opposite of zero.”  Now mind you, I know he feels the love, so I’m not worried about this zero business.  But what comes out next just about floored me…

“Mom, there are two zeroes…one that is nothing and one that is everything, and you love me the everything one.”

And it occurred to me, that from the mouths of a babe – from someone who hasn’t been taught what “we know to be true” – he might actually be spot-on.  Perhaps mathematicians already know that there are two zeroes.  Perhaps not.  That doesn’t matter to me.  What does matter is that my son understands, in a much more expansive way than I might imagine, that my love for him is boundless.

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~ by Julianna on December 9, 2009.

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