No other words have the power to melt your heart or betray your trust like the words, “I love you very much.” Especially, when coming from your own child.
Several weeks ago, Garrett started telling us that he “loved us very much” as part of his bedtime routine. Each time he said it, it felt special and unique. It was a great way to end the day. I would reply by giving him a tremendous hug and whispering in his ear that I loved him very much as well. This was our thing and it melted my heart each time he said it.
It was special….until Chip, Dale, and Teddi Barra from the Country Bear Jamboree entered our lives!!! (Well, technically, our brunch!)
For the past few years, we’ve taken the boys to the Mother’s Day brunch at The Grand Californian at Disneyland. It’s a fun event and they have a couple of characters wandering around the restaurant to hug and play with the children.
Garrett saw Teddi first and ran up to him to give him a huge hug. And then I heard him say, “I love you very much!” Huh?!?! Ok, probably just a fluke, I thought. I’m big and furry. Maybe he mistook the bear for me.
30 minutes later, Chip came by our table. (Maybe it was Dale. Doesn’t really matter.) Once again, Garrett ran up to Chip to give him a hug and said, “I love you very much.” What?!?!? He just gave the love meant for me to another fuzzy stranger??
30 minutes later, Dale came by. (Maybe it was Chip. Maybe it was Chewbacca. I dunno. They all look alike when you’re on a sugar high from eating too many Mickey Waffles.) Again, I heard my son profess his love to someone other than me.
Feeling scorned, I wanted to lash out. I wanted to whisper in Garrett’s ear about how Walt Disney was anti-Semitic, how those characters will never love him back, or worse – none of those characters are real!! I wanted to, but I didn’t.
Yes, I understand that a 3 year old doesn’t really understand the concept of love. Hell – I’ve met 40 year olds who don’t understand the concept of love. But, it was just one of those things that caught me off guard.
As I tucked him back into bed that night, he stood up to give me a hug. And then, he said those magical words: “I love you very much.”
Honestly, it was as special as it was the first time.