Making Memories with Love You Forever
"I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be."
It was in the late 80's when I first heard those words, read to me by my sister-in-law, as she told me about her favorite book to read to her young sons.
She became so emotional as she read it, she couldn't finish. Instead, she handed it to me to read for myself. By the time I finished, I had tears in my own eyes, and could completely understand why my sister-in-law became so choked up. Year's later, when I had my first daughter, I considered getting this book a necessity. I quickly learned that I simply could not read the book out loud in a normal voice. Every time I tried, my eyes would fill with tears and I soon found myself too filled with emotion to read. I found that the only way I could read it was by being extremely dramatic, distancing myself from the words with my performance.
Of course, when I came to those famous lines, I sang them to a melody I made up. I'm sure every parent who has ever read this book has come up with their own version.
So why is this book so special, that it would bring such a reaction, even to a newly married, childless nineteen year old?
Because it's full of onions, that's why. Great big piles of freshly chopped onions. That's why I can't read it without crying.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Robert Munsch is famous for his cheeky, irreverent children's books, and many of them were favorites in our household. The Paper Bag Princess, Murmel Murmel Murmel, David's Father, Something Good, Stephanie's Ponytail, and so many more!
Love You Forever, however, is completely different. The song that inspired the story long existed only in Robert Munsch's head, made up after he and his wife had two stillborn children. The story was so different from anything else he'd written, his regular publisher turned it down, and Munsch went to a different one, and the rest is history.
This is a heartfelt story that appeals to all ages, because it is for all ages. It is for children, but also their parents and grandparents. Children love it because it assures them that, no matter how crazy their behaviour, even when their parents might be mad at them, they are still loved. Parents see themselves in the mother's struggles with her son's behaviour as he grows up. Grandparents love it, because it so beautifully illustrates how a child remains their baby, even when they've grown and started their own families. Then, of course, there is the heartrending ending, as the mother struggles to sing the song to her son one more time, and he finishes it for her - then goes home to sing the song to his own infant daughter.
This is a book that will be treasured through generations.
I think someone is chopping onions somewhere nearby again, because I'm getting tears in my eyes for some reason.