It all began as we were standing1 in front of the bathroom mirror, me fixing Amanda's fine, blonde hair. I was putting in the final elastic2 of a spunky pair of ponytails and finished with, "I love you, Amanda." "And, I love you," she replied. "Oh, yeah," I taunted3. "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.usually
We volleyed back and forth4 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 sincerity5. 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.
Christie A. Hansen
Contributing author, Chicken Soup for the Soul Photo's for Mom's