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Amanda Lamb: I love you to God and back

Posted January 6, 2013

“Do I say it too much?” I ask my younger daughter Chloe.

“No, Mommy, I like it,” she replies with a grin, wrapping her little arms around my waist.

Since the day they were born, I couldn’t stop telling my daughters how much I loved them, from infancy to adolescence. It was as if the words just bubbled out of me when I was around them. Unlike the way adults handle these words with one another, often tentatively, with the hope that the other person will return the sentiment, parents love unconditionally, which means we say it without expecting something in return. This kind of love is freeing. It's one of the purest loves you can have in your heart.

“I love you,” I say each time I hang up the phone when I am at work and checking in on my daughters’ days at school.

“Love you too, Mom,” they always say. I can’t help but hang up with a smile on my face.

To this day, I always tell my father I love him before I hang up the phone. I did the same thing with my mother before she passed away a few months ago. Often she would call me just to tell me she loved me or send me a card with those three simple words written inside. "I Love You to God and Back," by Amanda Lamb

My experience of losing a parent has made me keenly aware that we may not get another chance to tell someone we love them - that’s why it is so important to say it as much as we can.

Chloe coined the phrase “I love you to God and back” at the end of her bedtime prayer when she was in first grade. She told me that because God lived in heaven, and heaven was really far away, that the biggest love she could imagine was loving me “to God and back.”

It made sense to me, and has become the best expression of the depth of our love for one another. Chloe’s love inspired me to write a book called “I Love You to God and Back” and this month, a children’s version of this book will be published that expresses the love between a parent and child in the context of faith. It is about seeing the world and spirituality through the innocent eyes of a child.

So, whether I say it in person, on the phone, through email or in a text message, I am determined to let my children know how much I love them. I don’t think there can ever be too many “I love yous” between a parent and child.

It is this unending, uncompromising, unfettered love that makes us richer human beings. And I truly believe that children who are deeply loved will grow up to be adults who love.

And doesn’t that make the world a better place?

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Check her website for more information about her new book for children. Find Amanda here every Monday.

11 Comments

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  • snowl Jan 7, 6:52 p.m.

    I did not hear those words growing up... It was actually my daughter, at the age of 8 years old, who began telling me she loved me soon after her Dad died unexpectedly. Before she would go to bed, she would say it 3 times....love you, love you, love you Mom. I think she wanted to be sure that I heard her. I think losing a parent (or a child) is the hardest thing anyone can experience in their life. It does change you.. to understand how short and precious life really is.
    Today, 13 years later, my adult children and I always end every conversation with 'Love You.'

  • UNCW_Ash Jan 7, 4:10 p.m.

    My dad was the one who shared "I love yous" more freely growing up. I really believe his love and ability to show it helped me look for similar qualities in my husband. I didn't go searching for love in the wrong places, b/c I had all I needed at home. He died of cancer in May 2009 and I still miss hearing him say it.

  • kpeele Jan 7, 3:48 p.m.

    Where will we be able to purchase this book when it comes out!

    Shirleystrickland- you might want to contact Project Enlightenment in downtown Raleigh for some help with your situation. They have early childhood experts who can help you think through your family's situation. They have a parent teacher resource center with books and videos, parent workshops, and free counseling sessions with their staff to talk about ways to help the child grow and develop. We recently had a new baby and I have been so thankful for their help and advice as we help our 3 and 2 year olds adjust to our new family. The website is http://projectenlightenment.wcpss.net/ and the Parent Teacher Resource Center phone number is 919-856-7804.

  • mcorson2 Jan 7, 2:20 p.m.

    Amanda, Glad to hear this, its great, I tell my children all the time i love them and they say it back. I did not get this when i was a child and i have made it a mission since my children were born, every day, i say i love u more then you know. because it is important and you never know when it will be your last and my children will know that they are loved to god and back:)

  • shirleystrickland Jan 7, 1:11 p.m.

    This is asking for help. I have a very smart and pretty granddaughter. When she talk to fast and is excited she stulings. Since her mom has had another child she has gotton worse because she can't do anything that her parent don't jummp on her about. I told them they were treating her like a grown up and I was tried of seeing it. so I don't get the see the new one because I don't want to see them get all over the four year old and I don; twant them leaveing here with a seveteen year that has major emotion problem but the father doen't want to face it. Please tell me how to help this child. she is so beautiful and so smart please tell me how to help her

  • Enough is Enough People Jan 7, 12:44 p.m.

    I am glad that I came across this article. I often wondered if I tell my boys that I love them to often. I am constantly telling them I love them. I guess I am that way because I didnt hear that much growing up from my parents. My oldest who is 3, tells me he loves me about 30-40 times a day and to me it never gets old and it always brings a tear to my eye. Pure love is lifes greatest gift.

  • Glass Half Full Jan 7, 11:45 a.m.

    Between me and my daughter I'll tell her I love her, she'll say she moves me more, and I'll say I love her most, then I get this really awesome hug that says more than words ever can! I never tire of telling her how much I love her and hearing how much she loves me.

  • lec02572 Jan 7, 11:26 a.m.

    I love it. Obviously, Chloe is a thinker. I've never thought of how much you could love someone, but I have to give it to her that is about as far as it gets. Since Chloe coined the phrase “I love you to God and back” I hope she got credit in the book. My mother never let me leave home, hang up the phone, etc. without saying "I love you." I miss it very much.

  • wspmom Jan 7, 10:16 a.m.

    Lots of "I love yous" in our house too. It's rubbing off on our 2 year old. I love the random "I love you Mommy" as we're riding down the road. It's the sweetest sound. I know that he will always know how much he is loved.
    We'll have to check out your book :)

  • angelienna Jan 7, 10:00 a.m.

    My son and I say it multiple times a day... he is 16 years old and will end text messages to me with 'love ya mama' ... in fact as I type this I get one from him in response to me reminding him to turn in his math hw that says "i will!:) love u to mama!

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