“How much do you love me?” Little Guy asks me from time to time.
It started long before we read the book “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney. In it, Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare try to outdo each other in expressing how much they love each other. Sometimes I answer the same as Big Nutbrown Hare: “to the moon and back”.
But one time I answered as simply and truthfully as I could: “I love you so much I would die for you. I wouldn’t hesitate”.
Everything around us suddenly became very quiet, very serious. I looked back into the rear seat of the car, now parked with the ignition off because I needed to see his face. I stared into his large blue eyes staring back at me, and I wondered what he was thinking…
I was around his age, when I asked the same question. I was watching a movie with my Mom. In it, the family was trying desperately to escape an erupting volcano, and in one scene, they were trapped in a boat on a lake of boiling water. They were all going to die…until the Grandmother jumped out of the boat and pushed the others safely to shore. “I don’t know if I could do that,” I told my Mom. “You could,” she said, “if you’re family was in danger and you could do something to save them, you would”.
I would walk through fire, brave the north atlantic, or crawl through a pit of large, hairy, poisonous spiders to get to him (that last one alone speaks volumes)!
If someone or something was hurting him, I would gladly bear the pain in his place.
I would fight back, using whatever I could find. My bare hands if I had to. Even if it meant using all my strength, or my last breath. I could kill if I had to…I wouldn’t hesitate.
Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone
“How much do you love me?”
Little Guy doesn’t know that my greatest fear is not the dark or spiders; it’s losing him, that he would find himself frightened and hurt at the mercy of a stranger. If God should choose to take him home, I want to be there. I want to hold him and comfort him, and usher him into the arms of Jesus. It’s an instinctive part of being a parent, to want to safeguard our children against the monsters that really do exist and to stand in the gap to protect them. With everything we’ve got…
Little Guy is at an age when he’s trying to comprehend the height and length, the depth and breadth of love. It’s hard for him to understand how love can be limitless, given without reservation. To be as much a part of you as your arms and legs, or the air in your lungs.
I can remember trying to figure all that out too.
I stared into his wide blue eyes staring back at me, and I wondered what he was thinking. And then he smiled, “I love you too Mom”.
“For I would wander weary miles,
Would welcome ridicule, my child,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile.”
– Michael Card, Sunrise of Your Smile