I say, “I love you, good night”

Jeff says, “ok”

He sometimes will say “I love you” but mainly he doesn’t. His dad used to do that too but in the last few years has come to understand how much I enjoy the words too.

It took me a long time to notice that when Dave built something he was talking about how much he loved me, or us, or Jeff.

Sitting at dinner the other night I posed the question of what each of our imaginary restaurants might be like.

Jeff shows his love most of all in imaginary future states…

He has promised me a Dunkin Donut franchise on the corner of my street with a direct bridge from our house.

He has promised that his imaginary restaurant menu would have choices for Dave to eat from.

He banks on the future when he is bigger and has more power and he fills that future with things that he knows we love. He knows we love it because he listens to us, and he builds a world full of of it because he loves us.

I can record him saying “I love you” someday (if he’ll let me) but I would never trade the sound of those words for the desire to fill a future with the beautiful, shiny, trinkets of the things he knows about his parents.

Dunkin Donuts and making U-Turns can be a joke forever because they become the stories of who his mom is and all the ways she stuck love in every corner of her life that she could fit it in.