I add 'I love you when you sing, when you shout, when you eat. I love you all the time!' And for laughs I add 'I love you when you fart, and I love you when you poo. I love you always!' He loves the notion and the affirmation. So I try to come up with new combinations and situations.
'I love you when I tell you off. When I say (for the hundredth time) 'Digger! Pleeease.... Just put on your shoes now. We are running late.'' Not a very conducive sentence I know. (Running where? Mummy never runs - or only when chased. Late?! For what??) But the reaction is common and human.
That didn't compute. He looked up at me. Puzzled.
'Really? When you are crossed?!'
'Yes. I always love you. Even when I am angry. Or annoyed.'
'Mummy, sometimes I am not so sure...'
Outch. I'm glad he said it. It hurts. It's a wake up call.
We can't stay connected all the time. And I am only human. I tire. I stress. I loose my patience.
That's not his fault. I'm ashamed that he would think it made him less lovable. But it is not rocket science if he did.
Instead of just acknowledging his feelings with a look, perhaps a touch, a nod, but mainly silence - because he has just said something important and painful - I immediately launched into
'Oh darling but I do!! Always .... bla bla bla blaaaaa'. As usual I was trying to be reassuring. Yet all I really did was letting him know that there was no space for feeling like that. At best. At worst it suggested he was wrong in feeling like that. And surely he did know best how he felt.
I do the same to my husband when he complains about something at work. 'Oh he probably didn't mean it like that.' Not a great conversation opener. Neither is 'Gosh... Why would she do such a thing to you? She sounds like she really stressed out. Poor her.' Yep. I say a lot of unhelpful things to both my men.