“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
Love You Forever
Robert Munsch’s incredible successful Love you Forever children’s book is nearly 25 years old but the message is so enduring. I have personally bought over twenty copies since I first encountered this lovely book. I cry every time I read it. The book begins with bundled infant, then impish toddler and so on “as he grew and grew” but she always rocked him back and forth and whispered the same rhyme to him “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as longs as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
Family structures have expanded since this book was written. With six generations alive today, we are mothering and caregiving each other like never before in human existence. Careers, families and caregiving have sandwiched the modern mothers into 24/7 demand for their time and services. The traditional role of Mother has morphed with the expansion of our family structures so that many different people are mothering like the stay at home dads.
Grandparents are raising grandchildren or providing day care services in greater numbers than ever in our history. Other family designs such as foster parents, adoption, co-parenting and same sex couples have also expanded the role of mothering. Adult children are caregiving for parents and grandparents. Grandchildren are caring for grandparents. Friends are creating families of choice and caring for each other in ways yet to be named.
Munsch’s beautiful story follows this baby and mother for decades. The mother calls her adult son asking him to visit because she is old and tired. Her adult son finds his mother in bed too weak to finish the rhyme. The son sings the rhyme to his mother as he rocks her back and forth, back and forth “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be” The adult son is mothering with the same intensity that he experienced throughout his lifetime.
I wish Robert Munsch would update his book to include caregiving and the families of today. It will go something like this:
“You loved me forever
You welcomed me into your heart
Until you take your last breath on earth,
Your caregiver I will be”
Happy Mother’s Day for all of you who are mothering and caregiving.