My kids and I have a routine that happens whenever one of us says, “I love you”. The response is never a simple, “I love you” or the standard, “I love you too.” The response is always (ALWAYS) “I love you more“.

(Close friends of mine have been subjected to this response as well whenever we email. If they throw out a “Love you!” I always (ALWAYS) lob back with, “I love you more“. Because I do.)

One example of this exchange occurs during the bedtime routine with Miss Emily. We will read a story and pray about all of the things she is thankful for. I will tuck her in, kiss her (Sweet, chubby) cheek and say, “I love you.” She replies with “I love you!” Then, as I walk towards the door, I throw out an, “I love you MORE.”

Her: “I love you more.”

Me: “I love you more.”

Her: “I love you more more more.”

Me: “I love you more more more.”

Her (as I’m closing the door): “I love you more.”

Me (Swinging the door back open): “I love you more.”

Her: “OK.”

This happens every. single. night.

The day that it doesn’t happen will see me as a weeping, crumpled mess on the floor. I said as much elsewhere and so many people replied that they still have this routine with their parents, decades later. It (made me cry, and) gave me hope that we can keep up this up until infinity.

Without going into details that will hurt anyone else, I am incredibly thankful for and in love with my kids for a reason. They are everything I wished I could be when I was a kid myself and they are a thousand times more amazing than I ever dreamed them to be. I simply cannot believe that these three beautiful beings have been entrusted to me. I catch myself looking at them and wondering how and why and what the heck?

I love you more only scrapes the surface of what I feel when I when I look at them, but it is the only way I know how to articulate it. Because I do. Love them more.

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  1. Tamara March 8, 2010 12:39 am edit

    That’s such a nice picture of Emily!

    Also, you’re a great Mom. Yes, you are lucky to have them but they are lucky to have you, too.

  2. Hannah March 8, 2010 1:03 am edit

    So cute :-)
    Yes, I firmly believe that you can make these special moments last, if you put an emphasis on them and don’t let them die. I think too often the special rituals gradually die because the parents forget how much THEY enjoy them, not just because the kids get older! :-)
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..Flutter Butter =-.

  3. Bel March 8, 2010 2:46 am edit

    My mother and I do this still, and I’m 26 next week.

  4. Janssen March 8, 2010 4:46 am edit

    That picture of Emily is absolutely DARLING. She (and the boys) are so lucky to have you for a mom.
    .-= Janssen´s last blog ..The Best Saturday =-.

  5. Sizzle March 8, 2010 7:50 am edit

    That is the sweetest. :-)
    .-= Sizzle´s last blog ..Your Advice =-.

  6. LauraRad March 8, 2010 9:00 am edit

    Darling photo and precious post. Your kids have the best mom!
    .-= LauraRad´s last blog ..Looking Back on 8th Grade [1999-2000] =-.

  7. DawnA March 8, 2010 9:40 am edit

    My Mom and I say I love you at the end of every conversation and every time we part. My 21 y.o. son still gets kisses goodnight (when he’s home) and we exchange I love you’s frequently. Still makes my heart smile.

  8. Danica Grunert March 8, 2010 10:07 am edit

    Ha ha ha. Grace screams at the top of her lungs “I love you more and you can’t change it!!!” and then I throw out the Mommy card “I love you more no matter what you say because I’m the Mommy and I know best.” and we reach a stalemate of love.

  9. Kristabella March 8, 2010 11:17 am edit

    I always say I love you before getting off the phone with my mom, my brother and my sister. Same when we see each other in person. And we always hug and kiss. (This was very hard for my SIL to get used to because her family is the exact opposite.)
    .-= Kristabella´s last blog ..Recuperate =-.

  10. Kerri Anne March 8, 2010 11:35 am edit

    The way you love your kiddos, and they way they love you back, is one of my favorite things about spending time with you guys as a family. The love: it is so apparent.

    (And my mom and I used to (and still do) play the “I love you more” game.)
    .-= Kerri Anne´s last blog ..My Heart Is A Nautical-Themed Pashmina Afghan =-.

  11. C @ Kid Things March 8, 2010 1:32 pm edit

    Love that picture, and the sentiment. Me and my kids are rather boring, I say I love you, they say I love you. Done and done. Although it’s still nice when I can get one of them to say it first.
    .-= C @ Kid Things´s last blog ..Happy Birthday, Dad =-.

  12. hillary March 8, 2010 1:54 pm edit

    how cute are Emily’s curls?!

    in my family, we used to do “I love you” – “I love you BUNCHES!” I still throw out an “I love you BUNCHES” from time to time.
    .-= hillary´s last blog ..Your Ex-Girlfriend Had A Boyfriend Who Kissed My Girlfriend =-.

  13. Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire March 8, 2010 2:58 pm edit

    what a wonderful arguement to have with your kiddos.
    .-= Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire´s last blog ..Weekly Winners-My baby sister is engaged Edition =-.

  14. Miss Grace March 8, 2010 4:29 pm edit

    We don’t have I love you more.
    What I DO get is Gabriel coming into my bed in the morning, patting my face, and whispering, ‘I really love you mommy.’
    .-= Miss Grace´s last blog ..Red Love Seat =-.

  15. Elizabeth March 9, 2010 11:29 pm edit

    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..And it’s useful too! =-.

  16. Al_Pal March 10, 2010 11:14 am edit

    Awwwww! That is way too touching and adorable, okay? ;p
    .-= Al_Pal´s last blog ..Sensitivity: I have it. =-.

  17. Laurie March 11, 2010 10:03 pm edit

    Loving all the love!! We tend to go with I love most, no I love you to 1000, well I love you infinity!
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..Ramblings of a Frustrated WAHM =-.

  18. js March 22, 2010 7:56 am edit

    Just stumbled upon your blog, love it and am reading backwards. My daughter and I have a similar routine. Every night after I tuck her in and kiss her goodnight I tell her I love her. She replies with “I love you more” and I tell her “That’s not possible.” After all these years (she’s nearly 9), it still gets a huge smile from both of us and a happy sigh from her.

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