Captains’ Quotes are little morsels of clever, slivers of silly, or wistful wisdom from my Captains.
(In case you are new here, I call my sons ‘Captain’ as a way to acknowledge that they are their own people; sailing their own vessels. I am just beside them, helping them navigate.)
Co-Pilot Dad and I tuck the boys in every night. We often stay to chat with them for a few minutes to help them settle down before we leave them to
play and then get up with endless questions go to sleep.
Captain Alpha lay in his bed the other night as I tucked him in.
He was quiet, which means he was thinking of something.
“Mom?” he asked. “Do you love yourself?”
Oh, boy. That’s a biggie. Why does nighttime seem to big out the big, philosophical questions? Deep questions at bedtime have the power to stump me.
What do I say?
I can’t very well say ‘no’ – that wouldn’t be a very positive model of self-confidence or acceptance. I don’t want him to not love himself. I want him to believe in himself and know that he is worthy of great things.
I didn’t really want to say ‘yes’ either, because it may not be the whole truth. Some days, I don’t feel like I love myself. I could say I am just modest, but in reality, I am hard on me. Sometimes, I am an after-thought; I am neglected and chastised for my mistakes (but only by myself.) Although I am lucky to be loved by others, sometimes I am not loved by me.
All of this went through my mind in the space of a few seconds.
“Well,” I said. “That’s kind of a hard question to answer, isn’t it?”
So I employed the age-old stalling technique used by parents and educators the world over, I turned the question around and posed it to him instead.
Me: “What do you think?”
Without hesitation he replied:
Not so deep after all. Biologic functions of the human body. That is what he loves. No existential, philosophic mumbo-jumbo. Red blood cells. Fighting disease. That’s where it’s at.
How could I have suspected otherwise from my sweet wee scientist?
Sometimes I make things so complicated.
When I look at it that way, I could most definitely agree that I love myself, too.