Twinsie and I were visiting our first chain bookstore, long before we heard of Borders and Barnes and Nobel. We were shopping for Christmas on very limited budgets and time, and we wanted to get each of the children a book.
On one of those twirling racks I found this now famous children’s book. Unbeknownst to me the magnitude of emotion that will play out, I began reading it aloud to twinsie — other parents came a little closer and when I got to the end, we literally were all in tears. Every single book on the stand was bought that evening as we wiped tears from our faces and sniffled. A bunch of strangers a few days before Christmas standing in line at check out, weeping and just wanting to get home to hold our babies.
The truth behind the story makes it even more the poignant:
As Mr. Munsch writes on his Web site:
“I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn’t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn’t sing.
For a long time it was just a song but one day, while telling stories at a big theatre at the University of Guelph, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a story around the song.
Out popped Love You Forever, pretty much the way it is in the book.”
Borne from pain, to bring the gift of love to thousands, maybe millions of families. Old, young, in-between.
I read that book to my children many times, and it was often one they asked me to read to them because they knew in the end that I would cry, and it would send them into gales of laughter. When they were able to read themselves, I had them read the end so that I could sit and sniffle in silence, as they squelched their desire to laugh.
I still have that original book, and I still read it now and then, as I “peek” into my son’s and daughter’s lives. I still “hold” them in my arms just as I did when they were babies, gently rocking and singing to them, praying for them, and then putting them back to bed before they wake. This is what mommas through the generations have done, no matter how far away that baby goes, in his heart or physically. We mommas never stop being just that, their mommas.
“Sigh, sniffle, gulp” tears stream down my face still, as I think of my two children, and that one day, as we did for their grandfather and grammy, they will be holding us and singing to us. I know this because this is what we taught them through example. And this makes me cry just a bit harder.
And we will understand what it means to Love you forever.