This book has warmed me for so long. It’s Love You Forever, by Roger Knapp.
The tale is simple, being a children’s book. It starts with the babyhood of the main character and goes to his adulthood, while every stage of his life is being sung to by his mother.
The refrain she sings goes like this: “I love you forever, I like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
It sometimes makes me cry if I think the main character, whom the author takes through every stage of his life—toddlerhood, adolescence, and adulthood—is unsympathetic toward his mother, or at least incognizant. But if I slip into this mindset I have to tell myself: It’s not that he doesn’t care about her; it’s that he simply lives a messy or reckless life.
The author takes great care to emphasize that the boy growing up likes messy and loud things: The boy trashes the toilet, chews bubble gum, leaves fingerprints on the counter, listens to hard-core rock music, and all around becomes a walking trash can with his laissez-faire attitude.
I think the main point of this story is that the son reciprocates his mother’s love through osmosis; because she first loved him, he loves her back.
He doesn’t at first reciprocate her love, whether verbally or physically. He is not a bad kid at all; but when she is old and decrepit, he comes to her house, tiptoes up her stairs (as she did to him every night of every year) and sings to her: “I love you forever, I like you for always. As long as I’m living my Mommy you’ll be.”
I sometimes have tears reading these lines. They are so true and so happy. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, mother-figures, and women who’ve been like mothers to those they’ve blessed.