Written by Emily
Before Noah was born, I put the vinyl letters “I love you to the moon and back” on the nursery room door. I liked the sentiment, and even when he was just a flutter, I loved him more than I could articulate.
I’ve read the children’s book Guess How Much I Love You again and again. My little ones like to stretch out their arms and touch their toes with the rabbits in the book, promising to love each other more and more and more still. We compete with one another to create the most extreme measure of love: to Jupiter and back and around again, as big as a dinosaur, more than the ocean.
But the truth is, a parent’s for real, everyday love, while not as poetic, is quite impressive. I imagine the brainstorming sessions for Guess How Much I Love You looked a little like this:
*I love you longer than all the movies and all of the songs you’ve watched and listened to on repeat because they were your favorites. (Finding Nemo x 78)+ (Firework by Katy Perry x 845)+ (Cars x 45)+ (Hush Little Baby x 4,799) < I love you.
*I love you when you pick your nose and wipe it on my pants, leaving a crusty smear that shines in the light.
*I love you more than all the food you’ve pushed around your plate, which would circle the planet 4,675 times.
*When you poop in your sleeper minutes after I remove your diaper requiring me to extract your body from a fecal casing, I love you.
*I love you to the public restroom and back and forth and back and forth to infinity.
*And when you pick out my lap in a sea of laps to sit on so you can vomit, and I’m saturated in regurgitated pickles and Cheerios, I love you.
*I will love you more than every minute of sleep I’ve lost since you arrived, which is roughly equivalent to 7 full years so far.
*I will even love you when you choose a crowded elevator to press on the colossal pimple on my forehead and say, “Button?”
*When you challenge me in a stare down because you are just so mad and I take you on because I will show you who’s boss, but you beat me, I’ll love you.
*I love more than all of the times you say “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” while I’m standing at the stove or sitting on the toilet or stepping into the shower.
After 286 pages of brainstorming like that, the author probably looked at the list and put the examples in bedtime language: farther than the river, to the moon and back.
But we parents, we know the translation. We live it.