I recently had to do some work in my attic that required moving some boxes. In one of them, I found some old childrens books. I started looking through them and ran across one that was a favorite of both my daughters when they were little. It brought back some especially fond memories.
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Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw, is a book about the bond between mother and child, and about the phases of life. In the beginning, a new mother rocks her baby and sings:
Ill love you forever
Ill like you for always
As long as Im living
My baby youll be.
The baby grows to be a toddler, and the next phase of life is the terrible twos. The toddler gets into things he shouldnt and flushes the mothers watch down the toilet. The mother thinks he will drive her crazy! But at night when the toddler is asleep, the mother picks him up and rocks him and sings the song to him.
The toddler grows into a boy, and the nine-year-old makes messes and never wants to take a bath. Sometimes the mother wants to sell him to the zoo. Yet, at night, when she is sure he is asleep, the mother picks the boy up and rocks him and sings the song to him.
The boy grows into a teenager, and does typical teenager things. The mother thinks she is IN a zoo. But at night, just as before, when she is sure the teen is asleep, she sneaks into his room, picks him up and rocks him and sings the song to him.
The teen grows into a young man and moves into his own house. At night, the mother gets in her car, drives to her sons house, and when the lights are all out and he is asleep, she sneaks through his window, picks him up and rocks him and sings the song to him. Serious-minded adults will have to suspend belief and this point and just accept the story line.
Time passes, and one day the mother is old and frail. She calls her son and tells him he should come see her because she is old and not well. He drives to her house and she begins to sing the song to him, but cant finish. He picks her up, rocks her, and sings the song to her.
He drives home and then goes into his new daughters room, picks her up and rocks her and sings the song to her, beginning the cycle again.
I consider myself a macho guy, but those credentials were made suspect each time I reached a certain point in this book. Even though I knew what was coming, my eyes would tear up a little. It is delivered in such a way as to make a strong emotional impact.
On the other hand, the silliness and seriousness in this book dont go together perfectly. Overall, though, it works to create a strong impact, possibly more so on adults than on children hearing the story. I have read this sentimental reflection of the bond between parent and child, and the stages of life we all go through many times, yet it still strikes me in the same way. My children enjoyed it most when they were around five to seven years old.
Love You Forever, written by Robert Munsch, Illustrated by Sheila McGraw, Firefly Books, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada, 47th Printing, 1995, 32 pages.
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