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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Making Ends Meet (01/16/14)

TITLE: How Much Do You Love Me?
By Barbara Mahler


Circumstances beyond my control required that I return to full time work and become a single parent soon after my youngest child was born. Emily’s next youngest sibling was about to become twenty-one when she came into the world, and happily relinquished his youngest status. Her oldest brother and his wife, who married just three months after she was born, often commented that they “wanted one just like her.” Although her big sister had just begun her emancipated life, she was thrilled at having a little sister.

Not being able to stay at home with Emily as I did with my older children was an experience I struggled with. My children were always my priority, and I decided that Emily would be as well. I chose to work in proximity to wherever we lived. When she had to miss a school day, I stayed home with her even if it meant that I would not be paid. The emotional and financial chaos of divorce drew us close.

Emily was barely six when she asked for the first time, “Mommy, how much do you love me?” She often asked the same question opening her little arms more and more each time until she had stretched as much as she could while continuing to probe, “…this much?”

Even though I always responded to her “…this much?” inquiry with my own over-extended arms gesture, she seemed to delight, nonetheless, in asking the same question again and again.

Emily was a continual source of pride as she advanced from grade to grade attaining excellent marks in all her subjects. I was a blessed parent who never had to cajole when it was time to do homework.

When she was about ten, she won me over in what had been an ongoing discussion.

“I’m old enough to walk home from school; I don’t need after-school care anymore. Besides it would save you money, Mom,” she argued – finally successful.

To her delight I also agreed to reward her good behavior with the pet she had begged for- almost from the time she could say the word “dog.”

The years have flown by all too quickly. My baby will soon have her own baby. Will the ends meet? When her child asks “Mommy, how much do you love me?” I pray that her reply will be the same as mine ultimately was: “I love you as high as the sky and as deep as the ocean.”


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This article has been read 127 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Wendy B McLain 01/23/14
Wow that must have been hard to start all over again raising a child when your others were grown and as a single parent at that!

Thank God for His never ending grace!

Beautiful story thanks for sharing.
Toni Babcock 01/24/14
I think you could successfully begin this short piece with the line - Emily was barely six when she asked for the first time, “Mommy, how much do you love me?”
(Admittedly, I got a little lost and confused in the first paragraph, and after reading the whole piece, I realized all that preliminary information wasn't really needed to convey your own distinct emotional truth. Just something to consider.
C D Swanson 01/25/14
Awww...So touching. What a beautiful story that'll come full circle with the birth of your grandchild!

Loved this.

God bless~
Sheldon Bass 01/29/14
A sweet story and poignant testimony of a mother's love, and a child's clear understanding of great love.

Keep on writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/30/14
Ahh this is a sweet story. Having an Emily myself, I know how sweet and wonderful they are. You did a nice job with the topic. Check out Jan's Writing Basics on the message boards. She gives great tips for all levels of writers.