Charlotte and I have a pretty solid tuck-you-in ritual down. I always lift her into bed. We decide who is going to say the prayers. She tells me whether or not I should have folded or steepled hands while we are praying (she always does the opposite, we like to cover our bases). Then we give each other kisses while I tell her, "I love you to the moon and back". She always responds with "and I love you to the moon and front". I will refrain from going on and on about how much I love her saying that (but seriously, so cute). Anyhow, then she blows me kisses, and I give her the 'I love you' hand sign and we have our final words for the night which go something like this:
Me: "I love you"
Charlotte: "I love you too"
Me: "I love you more"
Charlotte: "I love you less"
Me: "I know baby. Good night. Sweet dreams."
I love you less. In her 3 year old mind, that is totally the right thing to say, and to be honest, it kind of is.
You see, any parent will tell you that they had absolutely no idea how much they would love their child. The love is so strong, so fierce, and so deep. There really is nothing like it.
I am not underestimating a child's love for their parent, or our love, as children, for our parents. What I am saying, however, is that the loves are a bit different and I would even venture to say that as parents, we love our children more, and they love us a bit less.
I am not sure when you begin loving your children, but it definitely before they are born. It intensifies the moment you see them, and NEVER, EVER declines from there. When we had the girls, we knew we loved them. That love intensified the moment we saw them, and it will never, ever decline.
Please, if you ever know of anyone who has lost a child during pregnancy, never assume that the love for that child doesn't exist. It is there, it is huge, and it is not comparable to any other love a person experiences except for the love of their child.
So, to Ruthie and Imogene, Mommy loves you, and I love you more.