I Love You More Than You Know

"I love you more than you know." - Something my mom always told me my whole life, until the end of hers. And she was right. I didn't understand how much she loved me until I had my own babies to love.

I remember hearing stories about the trouble I'd get into with one of my brothers when we were little. We're only 10 months apart, so we went on a lot of adventures together.

Like the time we dumped an entire gallon of milk onto the living room floor. Or the time we put a towel in the bathroom sink, turned the water on, and left. Mom found the flooded floor later and knew who was to blame.

As we got a little older we found other ways to get into mischief... like the time we thought it would be a good idea to use Wal-Mart trash bags as parachutes and jump out of the treehouse, landing gracefully and heroically onto the soft grass. Or so we thought. I'm not even sure we were brave enough to attempt that one, but I definitely remember looking through all the bags, trying to find one without any holes. Or at least not BIG holes. A few little tiny holes wouldn't hurt, right?

Then there was the time that will forever live in infamy as - "Hey, remember that one time Bryce shot you in the armpit with a BB gun?" Oh yes, I remember.

It's funny, I don't recall many adventure stories (and by 'adventure' I mean the type that always led to trouble) that don't include a sibling or two. I like that, Makes me think I was a well-behaved kid until influenced by my older brothers and sister. ;)

Oh wait, I just thought of one. One time I found a roll of stamps in my dads desk and thought they were stickers and... well you can see where that's going. Pretty sure mom started on her blood pressure medication after that incident.

Then high school. I thought I was in love with someone I met online and we were going to get married and live happily ever after. That obviously didn't work out, and I think I speak for everyone when I say it was a good thing when that debacle ended.

"Good thing" is a giant understatement. Mom never drank a drop of alcohol, but I wouldn't be too surprised if she took a shot or two to celebrate the end of that nonsense.

All these stories of things I was involved in that could have, and surely did make my mother angry, upset, disappointed, murderous even maybe... and you know what's surprising? I don't remember that part of it. Maybe I just blacked out the memories of the repercussions; I guess that's possible.

But you know what I do remember? I very distinctly remember hearing my mother tell me all the time - "I love you more than you know." When I did something great and she was praising me, she'd say it.

"I love you more than you know."

When I did something I shouldn't have and mom was disappointed, she'd still lovingly tell me - "I love you more than you know."

Growing up, I thought it was just a different, longer version of the phrase - "I love you" which is something else my mother told her children very frequently. But I was wrong.

Today I finally understood the meaning of that phrase.

I was holding my 9 week old son and I was watching my 19 month old practice bypassing the new so-called "child-proof" door knob covers. We're on our second kind already, and I'm debating on whether it would be worth it to spend more money on a third, different kind, or just give up and remove them all since none of them have stopped him yet.

So I'm watching my own son go on one of his first 'adventures' while I'm holding this squishy blob of heaven because thankfully he'll be too little to join his brother's mischief for hopefully another day or two and I almost literally feel my heart grow 10 sizes bigger. Like the grinch, you know. Except my heart was normal size to begin with.

Side note... I know my heart is normal size because ironically 4 days after my youngest was born the doctors were afraid I had developed a life threatening condition that caused your heart to be enlarged. And apparently it isn't a good thing if that happens. They life flighted me to a bigger hospital and I got to see my own heart in real life. It was normal sized.

Today I looked down from watching my ornery toddler and his shenanigans and again I kissed the most delicious pudgy cheeks I kiss at least 300 times a day and my heart did it again!

I've felt this my-heart-just-grew-10-sizes-bigger feeling many times before, but for whatever reason I hadn't made the connection until today.

Today it hit me.

"I love you more than you know."

Not just - "Oh my goodness, you two are so adorable and I just love you." They hear that all the time.

This time it was different. It was - I love you with every ounce of my being. I love you so much my soul almost aches from joy. I love you so much that as powerful as the word "love" is, it doesn't seem powerful enough right now to tell you how much you mean to me.

And it was also a little fear. It was - How do I even begin to try to explain how much love I have for these two tiny humans when I, myself don't even understand how it's possible to have this much love in the first place?

And then it made sense. This is the love my mother tried to explain to me by saying that simple phrase.

"I love you more than you know."

My mom passed away in 2015. I was 24 at the time. Now it's 2017 and I'm turning 26 in a few days and only now can I finally appreciate the full meaning of that sentence.

My mother spent my whole life, all the way to the end of hers, trying to make sure I knew how important that sentence is. Up until now I've always thought it was a simple thing to say, with a simple meaning. I don't think I've ever been so wrong.

And I, like her, will spend my whole life trying to share the real message of this phrase with my children, current and future.

Jax and Kai, I love you more than you know.

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