Those Three Little Words

It’s Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is usually the time of year everyone lets their mom know she is loved. But, isn’t every day Mother’s Day? It sure seems like it to me.

For some time now, Kylan (5y) has been in a phase where he thinks everything is a competition. He turned saying “I love you” into this little game. It used to go something like this:

Me: I love you.
K: I love you more.
(Why did he say “more”? I went with it one day…)
Me: I love you more than all the books.
K: I love you to the moon and back.
Me: I love you more than… and we continue naming things we love.

Then his game turned into this:

Me: I love you.
K: I love you more because I love you to infinity. And you can’t beat infinity because there is no end. So, I win. Haha!

Who taught the kid about infinity? Seriously. He is barely 5. And, we home school.

We still do our I love you game at times, but most of the time Kylan likes to snuggle up to me for what he calls “Mommy love” and sweetly says, “I love you, Mama.”

Now, Riley (7y) and I have a different, yet, equally special relationship as Kylan and I. When Riley was 3.5-years-old, he was all about numbers and insisted on counting “I love yous” back and forth with me.

R: I love you.
Me: I love you, too.
(He must have thought I meant the number, TWO, because he kept going.)
R: I love you three.
Me: I love you four.
R: I love you five…

Soon, Riley was counting to 100 before he turned four, and we were counting I love yous less and less as time went on. At one point, a couple months passed without any counting. I thought he outgrew this I love you counting phase.

Then it happened. Riley broke his arms. Yes, that’s plural! He was barely five. (I will save that story for another day.) When he broke his first arm, the doctors were standing around us, like we were in a fishbowl. I told Riley the doctors were here to help him get some rest, and that’s when it started again…

R: I love you, Mama.
Me: I love you, too, Riley.
R: I love you one.
Me: I love you two.
R: I love you three…

At I love you four, I noticed the team of doctors watching us, as if time stood still. I motioned for them to start. They caught on and began to sedate my baby.

Me: I love you 6.
R: I…love…you…sssev….
Me: I love you 8.
R: ……
Me: I love you 9.
R: ……

This was the single hardest thing I have ever had to witness as a mom, thus far. However, it turned into such a bittersweet experience knowing Riley felt safe by counting his I love yous during such a difficult time. I never would have guessed counting our I love yous would turn into anything more than simply counting our I love yous.

As time moves on, I realize our I love yous will continue to change over the years. One thing I know for certain is (my) children will never be too old for “I love you,” no matter how we choose to say those three little words.