A Love Story | April 5, 2023

My seven-year-old, a goalie, played in a hockey tournament this past weekend.  His eleven-year-old brother, also a goalie, was forced to attend.  At the end of the second game, Eleven – who had spent the previous eighty ten minutes BORED OUT OF HIS MIND having been asked to stand in one place with his face turned in the direction of the ice – wandered over to his brother as he was getting undressed, bent over, and murmured something into his mask.  Seven nodded vigorously.

It turned out Eleven had offered to be his goalie coach.  For every moment of the next twenty-four hours, Eleven exercised, stretched, strategized, and encouraged Seven in his gameplay and attitude.  Seven, who would do absolutely anything for his brother’s attention, ate it up.  After it was over, Seven put his little arm around Eleven and said,

“I love you so, so much, forever and ever.”

Eleven turned to me and said, “Can we get Taco Bell?”

“Your brother just said something to you,” I admonished him.  “Is there anything you want to say back?”

Eleven looked down at Seven, seemingly surprised to find a person gripping onto him for dear life.

“Okay,” Eleven said to his brother.

Like Seven, I am an effusive lover.  At least half of my conversations with Seven are the two of us trying to one-up each other with love.  As I was typing this, for example, Seven came up to my office and said,

“Hi, I love you.”

And I said,

“Hi, I love you with all my heart.”

And he said,

“I love you with all my heart to infinity and the universe and I’ll love you FOREVER and EVER and I like looking at you so much if feels like a dream.”

And I said,

“Well, I love you INFINITY more than that.”

And he said,

“I love YOU infinity infinities more than that.”

Anyway, three hours later and we’re still going.

The only thing that keeps me from saying “I love you” to everyone I love – and I love A LOT of people – is the societal understanding that not everyone loves proclamations of love.  The vast majority of people in my family, in fact, will usually only say “I love you” if someone says it first.  Kyle is one of those people, and every time Seven or I tell him we love him unexpectedly (and not at a prescribed time like before bed or leaving the house or going to the bathroom) he mumbles a “Love you, too,” as if he were trying to surreptitiously let us know that we had a booger hanging out of our nose.

This is not to say, obviously, that only the Sevens and the Amandas of the universe love big.  It seems to me that most people prefer to show their love rather than tell it.  Eleven becoming a goalie coach, for instance, is about as close to throwing himself on his knees and declaring his undying love as he gets.  Kyle is a super-duper helper.  My mother is a maestro of letter-writing and handwritten hearts. My dad clips articles.  My paternal grandmother baked chocolate chip cookies.  And my maternal grandmother used to show her love with cold drinks.  No matter where we were or what we were doing, if she was happy, she was also thirsty.

We were out shopping in New York sometime in my college years when I said,

“Grandma, I love you with all my heart.”

“I love you, too,” she said.  “Let’s go get a cold drink.”

We got iced teas; and as we were contemplating the addition of a light nosh, my grandma said,

“Have I ever told you how I find it interesting that you say, ‘I love you with all my heart?’”

“No,” I said.  (As an aside, my go-to message has been “I love you with all my heart” since I was about four years old.)

“After your great-grandpa had his stroke, the only thing he could say was, ‘I love you with all my heart,’” Grandma said.  “You wouldn’t have known that, though, because he died when you were six months old.  I wonder where you picked it up?”

“Maybe Mom?”  I said.

“No,” she said, “I guess it’s just one of those things that reminds us we’re connected.”

“Like cold drinks?”  I teased her.

“Absolutely like cold drinks,” she said, raising her hand to call over the waiter.  “And crème brulee.  Let’s get some crème brulee.”

The photo above is of one of my loves.

It was a packed house in celebration of Dickinson’s Jessica Clifton, who has spent the past decade “going above and beyond her job duties to help veterans in Stark County. (Dickinson Press)

There are now four former University of North Dakota hockey players playing for the Ottawa Senators. (Grand Forks Herald)

Happy 107th birthday to Dickinson’s Helma Lein! (Valley News Live)

Best of luck to the Bismarck U-16 curling team, who are headed to nationals in Boston. (KFYR TV)

Speaking of Bismarck, Bismarck’s Britta Curl is suiting up for Team USA – the 10th time playing for USA and the third at the IIHFWHC – in the IIHF World Hockey Championships. (KFYR TV)

And one more time for Bismarck: Bismarck’s Marea Reinicke took advantage of all of our recent snow to make a snow sculpture on her roof. (Facebook)

Congratulations to West Fargo’s Darcy Brandenburg, named North Dakota Band Director of the Year. (Fargo Forum)

Grand Forks has been named the fourth-best place in the United States to buy a house on a budget. (Grand Forks Herald)

This is not related to North Dakota, but my Godmother sent me this video without knowing this was the exact topic of my story this week, so enjoy. (Facebook)

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2 thoughts on “A Love Story | April 5, 2023

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