Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Review: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch


I cannot quite remember how this book became part of my collection. Perhaps it was a gift. I know for certain that I did not purchase it. It's simply not one that would have captured my interest upon a quick glance at the bookstore. Judging it by the cover, the book appears to be just another corny, sappy, not particularly creative or well-written story about loving a baby. (No offense to Robert Munsch, who is an extremely accomplished, well-regarded author.) In fact, it sat on my bookshelf for at least three years before I bothered reading it to my firstborn.

And when I finally did....well, I broke down crying uncontrollably about half way through. The lump in my throat and tears in my eyes that surprisingly appeared within the first couple of pages developed into a full-blown meltdown that prevented me from reading the entire story aloud to my very confused little boy.

Attributing my behavior to exhaustion, the book was shelved for a couple of years only to reappear this afternoon when my second child asked me to read it. Once again, feeling unenthusiastic about his choice and expecting a boring story, the same wave of emotion took over. And I happened to be very well-rested today.

So what's the hook with this book? As a mom, it's the thought that my children will grow up one day. A big revelation? Of course not. Here's the thing....I find myself often wishing for the next phase when things will (hopefully) get easier with my kids. Kind of like the Adam Sandler movie "Click" whereby a dad possesses a remote control he uses to fast forward through all of the challenging moments in his life.

It's those tender moments when they are asleep that I fully appreciate my children. And though some days begin with a mental countdown until bedtime...here's the rub....I can't bear the thought of them growing up and leaving me. And that is exactly where this gem of a book tugs at my heart.

A simple theme is repeated from the very start to the very end of the story. A baby boy moves through different stages of his life, leaving an exhausted and frustrated mom in his wake. Every night while he is asleep, his mother enters his room and cradles her "baby" well beyond his young childhood years. She whispers a sweet poem over and over again.

At the very end, when the mother is old and frail, they reverse positions and the son lovingly cradles his mom. Then he returns home to hold his own daughter and recite the familiar poem.

If you have read this book to your child, I would appreciate a comment! I'm not an overly emotional person...but this book has touched upon something deep within. A fear of my children moving on, of not needing me anymore (I've got to be more careful what I wish for!), of the intense love I have for them.

Okay, off to quietly slip into three little bedrooms and watch my babies sleep for awhile.

6 comments:

  1. When I first saw the cover, I thought this was a potty training book! Sounds beautiful and I know I would cry too if I read this. I'm so emotional, especially at 6 mos. prego. Whenever I hear the cats in the cradle song on the radio I cry......
    I'll have to check out this book!

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  2. this is a favorite of mine and I give it as gifts at baby showers because as a mother of many sons this story touches my heart as no other. now I have grandchidren and the book lives on. for my 35 year old son still signs my letters with:" I'll love you forever,I'll like you for always"

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  3. I had a teacher make this book part of his curriculum in an English class I was in. It made me sob then, and I bought it immediately upon finding out I was pregnant with my son. Every single time I read it to him, I tear up. It's my favorite childrens book of all time.

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  4. I'm dropping in from the Link A Thon at MomDot!

    Just wanted to say that this book also makes me cry!! I made up a tune to the song the mom sings to her son and I sing it to my daughter everyday.

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  5. I was the exact same way with the book, everytime I read it. It is always in my gift baskets to new moms. My boys are 21 and 22 and we still say love you forever!!!

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  6. Try reading it to a class of kindergarteners and having to keep stopping until the emotion has settled!This became their favorite book and they would request it often. They liked the little poem because I would sing it to them. It's kind of funny because they would start singing it with me after the first page. People would walk in the classroom and hear my little 5 year olds singing this precious song. There are just not many books out there that can easily bring out this kind of emotion in people.

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