Kids explain: What is love?

We asked GTA kids what love means. Their answers go deeper than you’d think

I like to believe that my almost-four-year-old understood the concept of love when he was two and a half.

One day after daycare pickup we sat on a ledge close to school to have a snack. He removed his homemade mini muffin from the container, studied it with the intensity of a scholar, took a bite and revealed a huge grin. “Yum,” he said. “This is made with love.” Then he took a beat. “And honey,” he added.

At the same time that I was stifling a giggle at his sincere and earnest tasting notes, my heart was exploding. Did my barely verbal toddler really understand that the food I make for him is, in fact, filled with oodles of love? My logical mind knew he was just practicing his developing verbal skills and probably repeating something I had said to him in the past. But I was moved enough to jot the exchange down in my journal, and then reread it many times over the past two years.

What’s continually fascinating to me on this parenting journey is how in such a short period of time these little beings change so much. My son is turning out to be a very sensitive and incredibly perceptive person, especially when it comes to human emotion. I was curious how his understanding of love has evolved.

More recently, while sharing another post daycare snack, I asked my son what he thinks love means. He stared ahead for a while with that same thoughtful, intense look on his face before turning to look at me in the eyes.

“Mommy?”

“Yes?”

“I dropped my pretzel.”

Oh.

And then, moments later, he said: “Love is special.”

It’s clear we’ve been looking for the meaning of love in all the wrong places. We can stop digging so deep and simply ask the kids in our lives. While my sons answer is far from verbose, it’s pretty spot on. Love is special.