Monday, August 12, 2013

Units of Love

When looking back, I often think that my own childhood reads like a Laura Ingalls Wilder book.  Sure, diphtheria was a thing of the past and our hemlines were a bit shorter, but we were kind to each other, and my parents took every opportunity they could to teach me something.

Sometimes it meant scrambling from the dinner table to look up a new word.  Other times it meant watching my Mom and Dad do a ridiculous dance just so that I'd remember that nine + seven = sixteen.  I'm sure my mom was grateful she never had to do that one in bloomers.

Perhaps the most relatable for me as a parent was the time my Dad taught me the distance from the Earth to the moon after I had informed him that I "loved him to the moon and back".  The trip to the sun was clearly longer, and I could no longer argue with his logic that he loved me more.  It was scientific.

That is the memory that surfaces every time Cael uses an arbitrary unit of measurement to describe his love for me.  And although they never make sense at face value, maybe I'm simply not taking advantage of a good teaching opportunity.  Yeah, that's it.  Cael simply needs a little more education. 

Let's try this out.

"Mommy, I love you twenty-four."

"Cael, I'm afraid you've neglected to qualify your numerical representation of love.  Are you referring to 24 hugs?  Or 24 kisses?  Perhaps you would prefer to use a more scientific unit of measure, like watts or amperes?  Furthermore,  if you are choosing energy as your system of measuring love, my undeniably larger mass would produce more energy than your five year-old frame, despite your body being in nearly constant motion.  In fact, as I am practically twice your height and more than three times your weight, I think it would be safe to estimate my love for you to be around 74 or 75." 

"I love you more than a cow."

"I'm honored, Cael.  Cows are very productive members of the farmyard.  There was a time when horses were necessary to pull plows and power various machines in order to plant and subsequently harvest crops, but with the boom in production of modern farming equipment, the horse and the small family farm became nearly obsolete.  Farming has become a large enterprise, encompassing many more acres than were previously required to support a family.  Today, the beef provided from raising cattle is nearly as necessary to the successful farmer as the crop itself.  Thank you."

"I love you like a coffee cup with hot coffee in it like Amy and Papa drink and a piece of cake like that one you made for Daddy with all of the chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles but not with ice cream.  Well, with chocolate ice cream, or twist, but not boring vanilla.  I don't love you that much."

"Um, I-- okay, well...  have you ever heard of diphtheria, Cael?"

Guess not.  G'night, Cael-boy.

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