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  • Tom likes to take my picture.
    Usually, he looks at what he's snapped and says, "Awww..."

    I look at them and say "Aww" as well.

    Inside my heart breaks open - explodes - for the millionth time.

    And it's luxurious, that kind of heartbreak. That kind of explosion.
    Tom's my son. He's seven.
    He lives furiously -- pegging 11 at any meter you test him on.
    Just as his tantrums are fierce, the way he loves all of us, family and friends,
    the way he loves me
    is fierce.
    And joyful. And forever.
    Being loved by Tom is not a silent thing. You know he loves you.
    The world knows he loves you.

    I've seen Tom run at his teacher, Ms. Curry, when he sees her across the blacktop.
    He lowers his head, a charging bull, and rams into her, burying his head in her belly.
    Wrapping his arms around her and squeezing. Immediate. Fierce. Huge.
    Ms. Curry gasps - after all, she Has been hit by a bull.
    While she's gasping her face stretches into a big beamy smile, her eyes crinkle up, and her cheeks pinken. She lowers her face and nuzzles the top of Tom's head.
    I can't hear her, but I bet she's murmuring something like, "Oh Tom....".

    That's how I respond to Tom-Charging-Love.
    Now I get to see it from the outside.
    And..... Wheeeeeeee!
    To see how that looks from afar.
    To see how I feel, to see how that physicalizes in another.
    A kind-of mirror of how I react.
    A love mirror.

    Another love mirror is seeing a picture of me that Tom's taken.
    Because when he's taking it, I'm looking at him.
    He takes my picture after we've snuggled, reading together; or just talking ---
    -- curled into each other.
    I'm in a moony-goony, love-filled mom place.
    The face he sees so much. The face captured in the picture
    is full of love, exploded and goooshy parental love.
    Specifically, Mom Loving Tom love.

    And then I get to see it -- the darndest thing.
    I get to see how Tom sees me when I have that goony face of exploded mom love.

    Which is also, of course, a reflection of his Tom Loving Mom face,
    since we've been curled into one another.
    Tom loves like I do - fiercely. Reflexively. Matter-of-fact forever-ly.
    Once his heart opens to someone, his love is factual and forever. Biologically factual.
    That love is now a part of him forever.
    Running in ropes alongside his veins, twisting 'round.
    Flowering in his lungs next to the bronchioles.
    Side by side with his spinal fluid.
    Part of what makes him alive. Part of what makes Tom, Tom.

    And me, me.
    When we love, and get to feel it come back from another,
    whatever the connection
    whoever you are ----

    In that moment, I hope you too let your goony love-face show.
    It may look dorky. Or blurry. Or morning-facey.
    But it's real. It's your love.
    Be proud.

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