Photo: Celeste Yvonne

“Mom, will you still love me if I’m bad?”

My four-year-old asked me this in the dark of night as I laid with him in his bed, finally slowing down our heart beats from the bustle of the day.

I felt my heart lurch. Why would he ask me this? Where did he think to even conceive a time when I wouldn’t love him…why I wouldn’t love him?

I poo-poo’d his question with dismissive “Yes of course… Don’t be silly… Always! Always!” answers and snuggled him harder, feeling especially grateful to feel him in my arms. But my real answer came as we slept. I breathed it in to him as we both drifted off to slept.

Oh, my dear sweet child. 

I will still love you.

I will love you in the best of times. In the worst of times. When the days are short, long, inside out or right side up.

I will love you when you tell me you are gay, or straight or you never want to be tied down to anyone.

If or when you struggle with mental health, or addiction or disease.

When you make mistakes and you will. We all do.

Whether you decide to be an astronaut, or a tattoo artist or a wanderlust.

When you bring home someone I hate or I adore.

There are no boundaries to this love. There are no constraints. No conditions.

My love for you is beyond words, or feelings or universes. If there was a sixth dimension, my love would be the seventh.

Bad or good? Right or wrong? Black or white? Yes or no? These aren’t even questions the the realm of my love.

I will still love you when my lungs no longer breathe and my heart no longer beats. That is the depth of a mother’s love. That is the depth of my love for you.