Monday, December 15, 2014

I'll Love You Forever

Tonight I ran across a book on my youngest child’s bookshelf. She has outgrown picture books and is reading chapter books now. I am sorting books and deciding which ones should stay on the shelf, which ones I’d like to put up for future grandchildren, and which ones I’ll be donating. This book will be staying on the shelf. The title is, “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

I remember the first time I ever read the words, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” and choked back the tears. My oldest child was a baby and a friend showed me the book “Love You Forever.” I shared it with friends after that, daring them to read it without crying.

Twenty-five years ago, reading “Love You Forever” for the first time, I did not analyze what it was about the book that caused my tears. I believe I probably wept at the thought of my baby growing up and leaving home. Tonight though, as I held that book, I had far more insight and a considerably larger amount of experience than I had the first time I read those words. I thought long and hard about my children, who they used to be and who they have become. Tonight, sitting in the floor of my daughter’s bedroom, I was looking back, not just forward. Twenty-five years ago, it was very hard to picture the man my baby boy would someday be. It happened though. We blink and they are grown. Four of my children are young adults who I am very proud of, but I do miss the babies they once were. Three of my kids now live in another state. The drive to put the ladder up to their windows each night so I can sneak into their rooms is becoming harder and harder to manage.

Munsch did a great job of depicting a parent’s tenderness for their child at all stages of life, during both serene moments and tumultuous ones. Although Munsch’s book was published in 1986, the whole concept of “you’ll always be my baby” and “I’ll always be here for you” is not a new one for moms and dads. I imagine that concept could be traced all the way back to the very first mother and her children.


Tate and Sydney
Although it had been a while since I last read “Love You Forever,” I really did not need to look at the words as I thumbed through the pages. I’ve read it so many times to all of my children over the years. As always a lump formed in my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes. However, this time I was not thinking of the baby on my lap who would someday grow up and leave home, nor was I thinking of the adult children I miss who have left home. Ironically I was thinking of my two youngest and yearning for the thing I used to dread. If only they could grow up and leave home one day. I want for them what the adult children now have: college, jobs, a car, friends, and the ability to live independently. Tate has autism and Sydney has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. What does their future hold? Where will I lean the ladder when I need to sneak in to their rooms and rock them? Who will rock them when I no longer can?
If you liked this post, you might also like one entitled, "Don't Blink."

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7 comments:

  1. I still can't read that book without tearing up. Ours is about 8 years old and it came with this little stuffed rabbit (Little Nut Brown Hare) and I refuse to get rid of it, even though the kids never played with it.

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  2. No one knows what their future will hold, but have faith that you have some control here. It sounds like you're doing a great job even with all the challenges and responsibilities you have as their caregiver.


    It's hard planning a future for your children let alone being the caregiver throughout their entire life! I always focused on pushing them into their "independence" as best as I could. Elisabeth is 20 now and I did an "about face" and really pushed her out into the community so people see her and see me interacting with her. There are too many times people have come up to me saying, "I didn't know you could do _________ with a child like her." Elisabeth has a friend with ASD. He is a champion at the riding center, Tops Soccer, and other activities his family has involved him. True,our kids will never live "independently" from their caregiving Mom and Dad, but we have to "get them out there" so people can see them and embrace them for who they are. People hear a lot of negative stuff about Autism. If someone complains about him in church, find another church. If someone gives you dirty look because he just emptied the cans off the grocery shelf, turn the other cheek. If you're tired of watching him, call a good friend who knows him and say, "Can you take him for a walk at the park?"

    You are an amazing and devoted Mom and your love shows in your blog.

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  3. I love that book and tear up every time I read it.

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  4. I ask myself this too: Who will rock them when I no longer can? That question won't go away but I think the important thing is to love them and help them as much as we can. And, to do it while we can. Planning for the future but living in the present. Not easy but we have to try. Your children are lucky to have a loving mother!

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  5. It breaks my heart to think about not being able to rock my son someday...his legs may grow to be longer than mine, but I will still rock him until I am no longer here!

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  6. I will have to check this book out now! Thanks. :)

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  7. I bought this book many years ago also. And yes, it makes me cry too. My oldest just turned 38, I have a grandson now, and a daughter is getting married this summer. I honestly don't know where the time went. I keep telling my kids to enjoy the moment you're in right now because time is fleeting. And I know what you mean about wishing our special needs kiddos would be able to grow up, leave home, and accomplish all the things that grown ups do someday. That they won't is just as heartbreaking too.

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