I Love You to the Moon and Back

https://i0.wp.com/images.huffingtonpost.com/2013-05-21-guesshowmanynutbrownhares.jpeg?w=490Illustration from the book Guess How Much I Love You

When I was pregnant with both of my children, I read them Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney, every night. I’d rub my belly and read them that sweet, sweet book. By the time they were toddlers, I could read the book with my eyes closed. If you’re not familiar with it, buy it, read it, and cherish it with someone you love. It’s that special.

It’s about a parent’s love for his son, Little Nutbrown Hare. Throughout this nearly 400-word, picture book, Little Nutbrown Hare tries to explain the depth of his love for his father, “I love you as high as I can reach,” “I love you as high as I can hop!” “I love you right up to the moon.” Big Nutbrown Hare’s love is deeper, farther and more profound. “I love you as far as I can reach.” “But I love you as high as I can hop.” “I love you right up to the moon — and back.”

Is there anything more profound than a parent’s love? I think not. My heart aches for my children. When they aren’t with me, I long for them. As a single mom, I have a lot of time without them, and I cherish those sweet moments with them, even the not so sweet moments. Nothing can prepare you for parenting. Nothing. And nothing can mimic the deep, profound, heart stopping, breath taking way you love your child. Nothing compares.

Saying I love you isn’t adequate. How can it be? You’d gladly give your life for your child. When someone hurts your child, with a slight, a nasty taunt, a broken promise, you want to string that other child up. I mean seriously. That phrase Mama Bear describes me to my core. Don’t mess with my kids.

That’s why this book is so precious. It’s simple and it’s true. I’ll leave you with the end of the precious tale. After Big Nutbrown Hare had just told Little Nubrown Hare that he loved him across the river and over the hills.

That’s very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think anymore. Then he looked beyond the thornbushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be farther than the sky.

“I love you right up to the moon,” he said, and closed his eyes.

“Oh, that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare. “That is very, very far.” Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night.

Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, “I love you right up to the moon – and back.”

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