There are so many children’s books out there in the world; some are strange, many are funny, but only one has had the power to move me to tears. That book is called “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.
To be honest though, the first time I read it, I thought the author was a little nuts. Let me tell you why. In a nutshell (pun intended, haha), the book follows the journey of a mother and her baby from the time he is born until he is a father himself. Every evening the mother rocks her son to sleep and sings a sweet song that goes:
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
And when I say she does this every evening, I mean every evening. Even when her son is a 6 foot tall, hairy man living across town, she drives over to his house in the middle of the night. She takes the super long ladder she strapped to the roof of her car and climbs up to his bedroom on the second floor, makes sure he is fully asleep, and takes him in her (very strong) arms and rocks him to this song.
Yup. The counselor part of me totally had a field day psychoanalyzing this scene. 😉 My initial thoughts were: This mom is so codependent, overly attached and unable to let go of her kid. Where are her boundaries?!
It was about nine years ago when I first saw this book at the library. Since then, every time I see it on a shelf, I bypass it because of its “dysfunctional” message. But recently, I finally understood what the author was saying (and now know that he was not nuts when he wrote the book). 🙂
The other day C and I were talking about her upcoming trip to the dentist to have 2 (stubborn) baby teeth pulled. I attempted to allay her fears by going over the procedure and answering her questions. The conversation was going well, and she was staying calm and looking thoughtful when she said something that made my heart drop.
C: “You can stay outside.”
C: “You can stay outside. You don’t have to come with me.”
It took a minute for me to register that C was saying she didn’t want me to go into the dentist’s office with her during the procedure. I was supposed to stay outside in the waiting room.
Me: “Are you sure?”
C: “Yes. Stay outside.”
Me: “Aw, my baby’s growing up!”
NOOOOOOO! Okay, I’ll wait outside.”
And that’s when the story of “Love You Forever” came to mind. Because with every ounce of blood pumping in me, as long as I’m living, my babies will always be my babies. I may not be as crazy (or brave) as the mom in the book to break into my kids’ homes when they’re adults and rock them to sleep, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to. (Actually, hubby would probably beat me to it!) But in my heart of hearts, I will always remember E and C as the cute, chunky babies who challenged and inspired me, and ultimately, grew me into the mom I am today.
So, yes, sweet daughter, I know you (and your brother) are growing up and don’t need me as much as before. I just need a little while to catch up to this new reality, so be patient with me. But I (and your Baba) would really appreciate it if you could do us a favor and choose a one story house when you grow up. 😉
Here’s a link to where you can hear “Love You Forever” read to you and view the illustrations as well. (Get the tissues out!)
And we’ll end with Mariah Carey’s song, “Always Be My Baby”. 🙂
When did you realize you (or your kids) were growing up?