Love you to the moon and back

The other day one of our kids was struggling with a sour mood.  I tried a quiet talk to get to the heart of the mood.  Nothing.  My jokes were met with a deadpan expression.  Attempts at conversation got one-word answers.  Phase 10 was suggested and played with much glumness and sighing.

Finally I remembered that I had a stash of chocolate covered gummy bears tucked away, and offered her some.  She wasn’t grumpy enough to outright refuse chocolate, but was still too grumpy to show any visible pleasure.

Suddenly I had a mini-inspiration.  I gave her a handful of gummies and asked her to bring them out to her dad.  “Tell him I love him.”

She groaned and rolled her eyes, but obeyed.  As she walked away I spotted the tiniest hint of a smile on her lips.

A minute later, back into the house she came.  The embarrassed grin had grown.  “Dad says he loves you to the moon and back.”

I laughed.  “Go tell him I love him truly, madly, deeply.”

“Oh…”  Her groan was loud, but as she walked away her smile was even bigger.

Her dad and  I had a couple more similar silly interchanges with her as the go-between, ending with her giving me a hug ‘from dad.’

That bit of silliness completely thawed her mood.  We managed to have fun finishing the rest of our card game, and the evening ended on a really nice note.

I need to remember this happy phenomenon much more often:  love doesn’t  have to directed at a child to be felt by the child.  In fact, loving your spouse in front of a child lets it sneak ninja-style past the kid’s defenses, spilling over and loving them too.

Yes, even when they’re groaning and rolling their eyes.


  1. Inspired thinking! Often when we hug each other we find a child or two snuggling in to the equation, but I hadn’t thought of it in terms of an opportunity to share them into our love, when they’re having a difficult time.

  2. Jennie C. says:

    love it! Thanks for the reminder that something loving our kiddos needs to be a bit creative!

  3. Hey, it works through a computer screen too! I was smiling and feeling cozy-loved just reading it. 🙂

  4. Thanks! This is great for me as a teen mom, and a good reminder to many of my friends who are moms to toddlers.

  5. I love this!! That is so perfect!

  6. Thanks for the beautiful picture and lesson! So hard to deal w groaning and kid funk.

  7. Coffeemom says:

    After all these years.. Why have I never thought of that??? Brava!

  8. What a wonderful idea!! I will be using it. Thank you Mary for sharing!

  9. Perfect!!

  10. Oh my. That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing, Mary. I am definitely filing this one away for future use. 🙂

    Our kids (all 6, from teen down to the almost 3 year old) quote the Aristocats movie whenever they see my husband kiss me — the first thing we hear “how romantic” (from all the girls), quickly followed by “sissy stuff” (by the boys) — many rolling eyes are included, but it pretty much always ends in a bunch of goofy laughter. Showing your kids you & your husband love each other is a priceless gift to them.

  11. What a great idea! It makes sense that this would lighten the mood. We used to do this all the time when the kids were little – mostly because it was so fun to hear their version of what we said. 🙂

  12. Katherine says:

    That is so sweet and a great idea I am going to have to try out sometime soon. I don’t know if it is the heat or what but we have had some grumpy moods lately over here and sometimes I get exasperated and end up feeling a little grumpy myself which is no good for anyone!

  13. What a beautiful story. Love your sneaky ninja skills!

  14. When my girls were little and would wake up with the grumpys (which were not allowed in our house)I would send them back to bed. Really. The first time was a hoot, they thought I was making them go back to bed!!! Well, I picked up the “grump” and tucked her back into bed, kissed her good night and turned out the light. Two seconds later, I turned on the light, smiled, snuggled and sang a Good Morning song. By the time I was done, everyone was giggling. After that, just the mention of sending them back to bed is enough to get them giggling (I still do it!) Some of my fondest memories! They are 11 and 13, still works! 🙂

    I loved your idea. Will keep it filed away in my brain…always good to have brilliant ideas hanging around!

  15. Great idea! So sweet. I loved how it got your daughter out of her funk, and also showed her how much you and your husband love each other. A great thing to show your kids, and make them feel safe. I think I’ll give this a try soon!

  16. Amazing! I love it!!

  17. I read this post the other day (and made a comment above), but it gave me an a-ha moment today. My 8yo adopted daughter with mild attachment issues is always sending her little 18mo (bio) sister in to me to “show mama” or “go see mama.” I often wish she wouldn’t–if baby is playing happily away from mom for a minute then just let her be!

    But today it occurred to me that my daughter may be vicariously seeking the healthy baby-mother attachment that she and I lack. When she sends the baby to me, she sees me give to the baby what we both wish I could give to her more easily.

    I’m always looking for ways to make sure that this new bio daughter’s arrival strengthens our attachment with our adopted daughter rather than threatening it. Maybe I can help by being more careful in my response when big sister sends baby to me.

  18. You’re a genius!