Friday, March 7, 2008

The 'I Love You More' Game

A little girl teaches her mom a thing or two about love.

By Christie A. Hansen

Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Mothers.

Meet my daughter, Amanda. Four years old and a fountain of knowledge. The other day she was reciting a list of all the facts and tidbits she has memorized. One plus one is two. If you mix yellow paint with blue you get green. Penguins can't fly....On and on she went.

Finally, she finished. "Mom," she said, looking very smug, "I know everything."
I let on as if I believed her, but chuckled to myself thinking of all the "this and that's" that a four-year-old child couldn't possibly know. Comparing her four years to my almost three decades of life experiences, I felt sure I knew what she knew and then some.
Within a week, I'd learn I was wrong.
It all began as we were standing in front of the bathroom mirror, me fixing Amanda's fine, blonde hair. I was putting in the final elastic of a spunky pair of pony tails and finished with, "I love you, Amanda."
"And I love you," she replied.
"Oh, yeah," I taunted, "well, I love you more."
Her eyes lit up as she recognized the cue for the start of another "I love you more" match. "Nuh-uh," she laughed, "I love you the most."
"I love you bigger than a volcano!" I countered--a favorite family phrase in these battles of love.
"But, Mom, I love you from here to China"--a country she's learning about thanks to our new neighbors up the street.
We volleyed back and forth a few favorite lines. "I love you more than peanut butter"...Well, I love you more than television"..."I even love you more than bubble gum."
It was my turn again, and I made the move that usually brings victory. "Too bad, chickadee. I love you bigger than the universe!" On this day, however, Amanda was not going to give up. I could see she was thinking.
"Mom," she said in a quiet voice, "I love you more than myself."
I stopped. Dumbfounded. Overwhelmed by her sincerity.
Here I thought that I knew more than she did. I thought I knew at least everything that she knew. But I didn't know this. My four-year-old daughter knows more about love than her twenty-eight-year-old mom. And somehow she loves me more than herself.

*this story made my eyes water and mist.... it was very touching.... being a mom is definitely priceless.... im just so PROUD being one....

and to quote Katherine Hadley...

The decision to have a child is to accept that your heart will forever walk about outside of your body.

And now I have my heart walking outside my body. Risky... having your heart so out in the open... but every night before I turn off the lights, I look at my heart sleeping one last time every day... and if i'm lucky, I get to watch him yawn and move about a little... then he gives a little, sleepy smile.. and I know that having my heart out here in the world is all worth the risk.