Love You Forever

Have you read this book? It’s a children’s book. It’s wonderful. It’s brand new in our house. Here’s why:

Many many moons ago (about 180 moons, actually) I was in my methods classes for my elementary education degree. One day, as part of some long-forgotten plan, we all brought our favorite children’s classic to class to read. Someone brought the book “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. The book chronicles the growth of a boy and his mother, who sings to him this song:
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.

Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? It is. Until the mother is old and SICK and he sings to her instead, while she DIES!!!!!!!!!!!! and then he goes home and sings the song to HIS NEW BABY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I first heard this book, I had to leave class before the end. Literally. I walked out. In the hallway of the oil and engineering building of the Roswell Campus of Eastern New Mexico University I had a complete emotional breakdown complete with sobbing. I have avoided this book like the plague since. Until Sunday.

On Sunday I saw the book at Target. Despite a brief argument with myself – out loud, I might add. In Target. – I bought it. I argued (apparently convincingly) to myself, “YEARS have passed! You’ve grown! The girls will love this book!” Turns out I was wrong.

For the past four days Ryan has ignored the book. The cover that portrays a toddler boy (boys have germs, ya know) playing with toilet paper didn’t appear to her. Tonight after her bath I told her with a big smile, “We are reading this whether you like it or not!” She loved it. I couldn’t finish it. For real. I got to the last four pages and my sobs overtook me. Daddy had to step in to read the last page of song. Ryan didn’t notice – or at least she didn’t let on that she noticed (good girl, punky). And then she said, “Can you read it again? I like this book.”

So Daddy read it. I listened while I folded laundry and the tears came. The tears came for every day I haven’t had with my mother, with my daughter. They came for every day that I have with Ryan. They came for every day I go without another child. They came for my dad who lost the love of his life. They came for the fears I have. They came for the love I feel watching Jesse read to Ryan. They came and came. And they came while Jesse read the song wrong: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll love you for always” and Ryan said, “LIKE you for always, Dad!”

And I realized that this book, this simple, stupid book, carries one of the truest sentiments a mother will ever learn: I will love them forever. I will like them for always. As long as I’m living, my babies they’ll be.

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9 Comments

  1. This book always makes me cry. Always.

  2. I remember this song from long ago, but never knew where it had come from. My memory is sketchy so its possible it was read to me. Anyhow, I must get this book now. J will have to read it though as I can barely make it through your blog without crying, how would I do with that book? Thanks for sharing this Tara. I puffy heart you.

  3. And thank you for making me cry at work. Now I have to go buy the damn book.

  4. Jesus woman, what are you trying to do to your readers?!?!?!? And you’re totally blowing your “tough girl” cover here…

    I will most definitely be buying this book for the little ones.

  5. That book was at my mom’s for some reason when my dad died and I read it to A she was 3.5. We both just bawled our eyes out. I don’t think I could read it again. It is just too raw 10 years later. So while we have different reasons, you are dead on.

  6. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!

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