What Does "Love You to the Moon and Back" Really Mean?

A childhood tale of love inspired by the visual measurement of the moon and back. Find out the meaning of the love shared between children and parents.

By Lena Dewilde
What Does "Love You to the Moon and Back" Really Mean?

The History & Meaning of "Love You to the Moon and Back"

You may be wondering where “Love you to the moon and back” originated from. To understand the true meaning of “love you to the moon and back”, we must first understand the history behind it. It's been a popular phrase for centuries. It’s not known who started the saying “Love you to the moon and back." However, we know what it has become. The phrase evolved over the years and began appearing in books, poems, a television series, and is even a part of songs. One such book is a childhood tale called “Guess How Much I Love You?” written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, in 1994. The tale is about the love of a Little Nutbrown Hare towards the adult Nutbrown Hare. It was later turned into an award-winning animated television series in 2012, produced by SLR Productions and Scrawl Studios. Then another book was published in 2004, written by Jackie French and Bryan Sullivan, named “To the Moon and Back". There is also another book, “I Love You to the Moon and Back” written by Amelia Hepworth and illustrated by Tim Warnes. Lastly, as part of a Baxter Family Collection, Karen Kingsbury wrote “To the Moon and Back” which will be published in May 2018. This upcoming novel is a love story between two children who lost their parent(s) in the Oklahoma Bombing. Many poems were written about the saying “Love You to the Moon and Back". One poem written by Mibba is named “To the Moon and Back”. Other poem authors like Tina Foley and Trevor have also used the phrase in their poems. The phrase "Love you to the Moon and Back” also became a part of many songs. One song was actually named after and references the book “To the Moon and Back”. This song was sung by Luke Bryan and written by Hilary Lindsey, Tony Lane, and Tom Douglas. The saying has become very popular in phrases, books, songs, and a television series over the years. It may come in many forms, but its meaning and reference remain the same: love.

"Love You to the Moon and Back": A Gesture of Love

You may have heard your mother or grandmother say “I love you to the moon and back” while tucking you into bed at night. Or you’re a mother yourself that has said that phrase to your children. Somewhere, somehow, you have heard it in your lifetime. Parents have been saying “love you to the moon and back” for generations. Even to this day, it’s a very popular gesture of love. It’s a playful and strong expression meaning love for another, usually geared towards children. Children understand love more easily with a visual aid. When said by a parent, the child can visualize that love being so far away as they look to the sky. They can use the distance in reference and comparison to the amount of love being felt. A feeling of a being loved a tremendous amount. Even when an adult hears or reads, “love you to the moon and back,” it takes them back to childhood. A loving and happy memory that puts a smile on your face.

How Far Is It To the Moon and Back?

Have you actually wondered how far to the moon and back really is? We all know, even children, that it’s pretty far. In reality, the distance to the moon is 238,855 miles. A round trip to the moon and back is around 455,000 miles. That is a considerably long way to travel for someone you love! It’s also said that the human heart produces enough energy each day to push a 20lb truck. Even so, it would take the heart 40 years to push the truck to the moon and back. That doesn’t seem to be a lot of years. However, to a child, it’s forever. To sum up, the energy the heart produces in half a lifetime is equivalent to the distance to the moon and back. When a parent tells their child “love you to the moon and back” they're using a visual aid to measure the amount of their love so the child can picture it better.

Conclusion: The Meaning of "Love You to the Moon and Back"

“Love you to the moon and back” is a visual measurement and gesture of love, implying a considerably large amount of love. Having the comparison and a visual of the miles and the strength of the heart makes it easier for children to understand how much they are loved. A child can drift off to sleep with the image of the moon in their minds and knowing they are loved very much. This childhood phrase has turned up not only in books, songs, and poems but as a television series as well. Let's continue to keep the tale and love alive for many generations to come.