Over the years, our kids have gotten fairly consistent messages about how love figures into our lives. We've made it clear that we love God a whole lot - more than anything else. When they were younger and would protest when Mike and I were leaving to go out on a date, we made it clear that they were darn lucky that their parents are crazy about each other, and that it's because we love each other more than anyone else in the world that we have such a happy family. And, then, of course, we express that next, we love the 4 of them more than anyone else in the world.
We don't break it down much farther than that, because then the conversation devolves into which grandparent or cousin or aunt or uncle is loved best after that, which can only lead to awkward silences and meaningful glances at family gatherings, and we can't have that.
The point is, the kids know where they stand. They're aces. They're in the holy trinity of our affection hierarchy. So, when we were driving along on our way home from school the other day and I shushed the kids and reached to turn up the radio, as I always do when a George Strait song comes on the radio - and then shushed Macy again when she broke the Cardinal George Rule and started to speak before the song was over - I was less than impressed by her eye rolling and smarmy little remark, "Geez, Mom, what? Do you love George Strait more than us?"
To which I reassuringly replied, "Oh, honey, of course I don't love him more than you."
Pause to let it really sink in.
"But you have to understand: I loved him first."
Love from the farm,