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The Play’s the Thing

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day–and brought to you by my favorite Valentines four-feet-and-under–may I present an interview with my three sons: a series of questions about love posed to my very contemplative seven-year-old Oscar; the embodiment of feeling, Edgar, age six; and he who is eager to show off his burgeoning language skills, two-and-a-half-year-old August.

SAMANTHA.  Okay, boys, here is the first question for you–a simple one to ask but a hard one to answer.  Ready?  What is love?

OSCAR.  I know this one.  It’s a big feeling–something you feel that’s very, very big.

EDGAR.  Love is something for people and animals–and the trees.

AUGUST. [yelling, naturally] I LOVE COLLEEN’S and UNCLE LEN’s!  (Colleen and Uncle Len take care of August during the week.)

SAMANTHA. Excellent.  Next question.  Ready?  Who do you love?

OSCAR.  Well, I have to tell you that there is a boundless list of people I love.  [He proceeds to list dozens of family members, friends, and teachers.]

EDGAR.  I love Sophia and my mom because they’re beautiful.  (Sophia is Edgar’s Kindergarten colleague.)

AUGUST.  [as loudly as he can] GRANDMA!  GRANDPA!  POPPOP!

SAMANTHA.  Nice job, boys.  Okay, here’s another one?

OSCAR.  How many more, Mom?

SAMANTHA.  Counting this one?

OSCAR.  No, after this one?

SAMANTHA.  Three.  We’re halfway there.

OSCAR.  Are you sure?

SAMANTHA.  Yes, I wrote the interview.

OSCAR.  Oh, well that makes sense.  Next question then.

SAMANTHA.  Thanks!  The next question is Who loves you?

OSCAR.  Mom, Dad, and all of the above (referencing the “boundless” list from his previous response).

EDGAR.  You, Mommy, and Dad and Oscar and Dolores and August.  (Dolores is our cat and apparently ranks ahead of his younger brother.)


SAMANTHA.  Anyone else, August?


SAMANTHA.  Next question!  What does love feel like?

OSCAR.  I think it feels like a beat in your heart . . .

EDGAR.  It feels like a tingly thing . . .

AUGUST.  I don’t know!  Like sharing . . .

SAMANTHA.  That was beautiful.  Really beautiful.  Thank you.  Two more questions! Oscar, Edgar, and August, how do you know when someone loves you?

OSCAR.  The grin on their face.  They smile when they see you.

EDGAR.  They hug me.

AUGUST.  They play with me.

SAMANTHA.  Perfect.  Now, for the final question . . . What’s the best thing about love?

OSCAR.  The best thing is when someone loves you back in an equal way.

EDGAR.  Well, hugs and kisses, of course.



When adults ask children what they think–and why they think it–myriad lessons emerge, not the least of which is the depth of a child’s ability to feel and comprehend complex emotions.

At each of my son’s adoption celebrations–when they were just infants–a good friend of ours uttered her wish for each of them:  May your ability to love surpass your desire to be loved. 

I hope that when she reads this piece she will be proud.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  May there be a “boundless list” of people you love who “love you in an equal way.”


Please visit the “Red Thread” in The Washington Times Communities section.  Andrea Poe is featuring an adapted post from My Three Sons entitled “Do You Love Us All the Same?”

About Samantha

Samantha Hines lives with her family in Newport, RI, and is a high school English teacher (twenty-four years and running). In the last several years, she has published in ADDitude and Adoptive Families magazines; and her blog, My Three Sons, was named by Adoptive Families as one of the Top Twenty Adoption Blogs on the internet. She is also the author of "Different Drummer," a blog about her son who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. In September 2012, she began her Ph.D. in Humanities at Salve Regina University. You can follow My Three Sons on Facebook and her blog at

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  • Capt. Mike

    Once again…..a home run!

    • Samantha Hines

      Thank you, Mike!

    • Samantha Hines

      Thank you, Mike!

  • Richard S.

    Precious, priceless gifts. Richard S.

    • Samantha

      Thank you, Richard!

  • Kathy

    Love it! What fabulous boys and what a great job you and Don have with them!

    • Samantha

      Thank you, Kathy! We have a great time with them, that’s for sure!