In the wake of the shootings in Connecticut, I have lots of things I want to say. But I want to start with a message of love, because it’s easiest (and I need easy right now). So I will share with you all my most favorite game that I play with my daughter.
When you’re a child, nothing is bigger than your love for your parents – the mere concept that a bigger love even exists is incomprehensible. It’s only when you’re a parent yourself that you understand. After my kids were born, I stopped trying to tell my mom that I loved her “more”. I was finally clued into what she had known all along – I would never be able to love her as much as she loves me. It’s not possible.
But when you’re a kid, you still think it is! So you play the I Love You More game. This is the story of how the I Love You More game evolved between my daughter and me.
In the beginning it was a straight game of competition:
I love you.
I love you more.
I love YOU more.
I love you more more.
I love you more more more more more more more.
I love you more times infinity!
Infinity! That’s a lot! (that’s me conceding)
Then it became a game of quantification and measurements:
I love you more than there are stars in the sky.
I love you more than all the stars PLUS all of the leaves in the trees.
I love you more than all the stars, and all the leaves, and and all the drops of water in the ocean.
I love you more than all the atoms in the universe!
Oh, well I can’t top that! (me conceding again)
It continued to evolve into a game of comparison:
I love you more than pizza!
I love you more than hockey!
Whoah! I love you more than macaroni.
I love you more than vacation.
I love YOU more than chocolate!
Holy smokes! That’s A LOT! (you should know I always let her win)
Then one day, while my daughter and I were watching my son’s soccer practice, it evovled once more to its final, and most fun, game:
I love you more than you love Daddy.
I love you more than you love Kit. (her American Girl doll)
I love you more than you love tacos.
I love you more than you love chocolate!
I love YOU more than you love Diet Coke!
That’s not even possible!
Yes it is – I love you more than that.
Well, ok then.
We’ll sometimes throw in a little trickery as well:
I love you more than you love bugs!
Bugs! I don’t even like bugs, you better love me more than that!
The game can last pretty long and usually we have to take breaks because of all the giggles.
It starts off easy – covering the basic favorite toys, foods, and activities. But after a while you have to start digging deep… and that’s one reason I love this version so much. The way I see it, when you compare your love to something they love, they don’t just hear I love you. They hear I love you and I know you and I pay attention to you and I value you and your opinions and your interests.
And I hear the same things from her when she say things about me that I never knew she knew. It’s not just a game of whose love is bigger, it’s a game of showing each other how much we’re treasured. And today, that’s one of the most important things.