Years and years ago, before crow's feet began to make their first appearance, and when I still used to get carded for alcohol, I worked at Barnes & Noble in the kids' section. There was this book, whose illustrations were particularly cheesy, that the other booksellers and I used to make a lot of fun of -- how sappy its prose was, how dorky the pictures were. It was called "Love You Forever." We scoffed at its sentimental message. The mother in the book continually rocks her son as he grows bigger and older, singing to him the words, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as you're living, my baby you'll be." Then she grows older and is unable to rock him, so he rocks her and sings the same song.
I know - barf!
A few years later I had a friend who owned this book - a male friend in his 40s. I laughed at him - why in the world do you have this sappy, crappy book? I asked. He explained to a sheepish me that it reminded him of his mom, how when she got sick he had to take care of her. I inwardly giggled at the badly done illustration of the middle aged man rocking his mother. How silly, I thought!
After the birth of my son, a co-worker gave me this same book. I snorted and put it on the shelf with his dozens of other books, thinking I would never read it.
Then the other night, for some reason, I got this book out and read it aloud to Miles. He was sitting in my lap, playing with an Elmo board book, probably not even listening as I read the lines - "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as you're living, my baby you'll be."
Oh, how the tears welled up -- and spilled over. Not even the cheesy illustrations could stop the bittersweet emotions from flowing.
How different this book looks through the eyes of a mother.