“What’s it mean?” I ask, as Katy Perry’s Unconditionally ends.
It’s a little game we play on the way to and from, in the car. After a song we’ve hummed along to (or brazenly belted), is over I ask them: What’s it mean?
“When you have to pay a price for love. Like if I wanted to marry a girl you didn’t like. If I have unconditional love, I’d marry her anyway,” says John, my eleven going on twenty-seven year-old.
“I wouldn’t marry a girl Mom didn’t like,” says eight-year-old Will, without missing a beat.
“I would!” John shoots back. “I mean if you love someone that much and Mom doesn’t like them that shouldn’t matter. Right Mom?”
Is he kidding?
I love being the mom of boys. But I do sometimes have a worry, or two, about twenty years from now when I am attending the weddings of friends with girls, who hang on their mom’s every word, looking for direction and approval. Will I be consulted on the daily decisions my boys make? I fear I already know the answer.
“Well John, that depends,” I swallow hard. “If that person brings out the best in you and is kind, then that is what is most important. Of course it doesn’t hurt, and can be lots of fun, if they like Dad and me.”
“But you’re okay if I end up with someone you don’t like?”
Way to beat a dead horse John!
“Yes. But you do have to promise me one thing.”
“What?” John asks, with pre-teen edge.
“When it comes to big holidays and events, like Christmas, you have to spend time with Dad and me. I can’t imagine not having you two around.”
“But Mom,” John says.
“We always spend Christmas with your family.”
Should have seen that one coming.
In my defense, I adore my mother-in-law (and I’m pretty sure she likes me too). But we live closer to my husband’s family and see them more regularly. My family lives five plus hours away and...and...we always spend Christmas with my family.
“You’re right. Maybe I should ask Nanny if she wants us to spend Christmas in Boston next year. A mom always wants to spend time with her kids,” I add for good measure, then switch to the news channel.
That’s enough unconditional love for one day.