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Mothers, aging and the greatest love story ever told

14 May 2014
Bonnie Sandler, The Senior Times – May 14

BY: BONNIE SANDLER BS.W

Robert Munsch, the Canadian author of the most loved children’s books, published Love You Forever in 1986. It is one of my very favourite books. However not so for my daughter, who as a young child cherished and enjoyed all of Munsch’s stories, except this one. She found it disturbing and not only refused to hear it, but the book was not to be kept in her room.

The story behind the story is that it was written after the author’s wife had two miscarriages. He wrote a song to those babies:

“I’ll love your forever
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”

When Munsch decided to write a book using this song, his regular publisher refused to publish it, feeling it was not a children’s book. He found another publisher and it quickly became a best-seller with more than 15 million copies sold.

It is the story of a mother holding her baby in her arms every night and singing the song. As her baby grows, she continues this ritual, even through his teen years. She picks up her son as he sleeps and sings to him. Even after he grows up, marries and moves across town, she sneaks into his home when he is sleeping to rock him in her arms.

I felt the mother’s love for her child when I read this book. I could see how obsessive this mother’s love was for her son, but focused on the beautiful and strong bond the mother felt for her child. As the mother ages, she becomes weak and sick and calls on her son to visit. Since she can no longer hold him in her arms and sing to him, he holds her in his arms and sings the song to her. He returns home, picks up his new baby, and sings the song to her.

This story may not be appropriate for all children. And adults may have very different interpretations of the book. I see it as a love story, a mother’s love for her child, and as the mother ages, the son steps in to care for the mother as she cared for him. Munsch’s publisher reported that Love You Forever was a popular book in retirement communities, with adults buying it for other adults, grandparents buying it for grandchildren and vice-versa. Munsch said: “Everybody buys it for everybody.”

There is nothing like a mother’s love. I remember the words of my best friend as she lay close to death in a hospital:“I wish my mother were here to take care of me.” She was lovingly and well cared for by her devoted daughter and loving friends, but nothing can replace a mother’s love. Mothers do not want to burden their children, but hopefully we all step up and give our mothers back some of the loving care we received from them.Bonnie Sandler, The Senior Times – May 14

BY: BONNIE SANDLER BS.W

Robert Munsch, the Canadian author of the most loved children’s books, published Love You Forever in 1986. It is one of my very favourite books. However not so for my daughter, who as a young child cherished and enjoyed all of Munsch’s stories, except this one. She found it disturbing and not only refused to hear it, but the book was not to be kept in her room.

The story behind the story is that it was written after the author’s wife had two miscarriages. He wrote a song to those babies:

“I’ll love your forever
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”

When Munsch decided to write a book using this song, his regular publisher refused to publish it, feeling it was not a children’s book. He found another publisher and it quickly became a best-seller with more than 15 million copies sold.

It is the story of a mother holding her baby in her arms every night and singing the song. As her baby grows, she continues this ritual, even through his teen years. She picks up her son as he sleeps and sings to him. Even after he grows up, marries and moves across town, she sneaks into his home when he is sleeping to rock him in her arms.

I felt the mother’s love for her child when I read this book. I could see how obsessive this mother’s love was for her son, but focused on the beautiful and strong bond the mother felt for her child. As the mother ages, she becomes weak and sick and calls on her son to visit. Since she can no longer hold him in her arms and sing to him, he holds her in his arms and sings the song to her. He returns home, picks up his new baby, and sings the song to her.

This story may not be appropriate for all children. And adults may have very different interpretations of the book. I see it as a love story, a mother’s love for her child, and as the mother ages, the son steps in to care for the mother as she cared for him. Munsch’s publisher reported that Love You Forever was a popular book in retirement communities, with adults buying it for other adults, grandparents buying it for grandchildren and vice-versa. Munsch said: “Everybody buys it for everybody.”

There is nothing like a mother’s love. I remember the words of my best friend as she lay close to death in a hospital:“I wish my mother were here to take care of me.” She was lovingly and well cared for by her devoted daughter and loving friends, but nothing can replace a mother’s love. Mothers do not want to burden their children, but hopefully we all step up and give our mothers back some of the loving care we received from them.

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Bonnie Sandler

Residential Real Estate Broker, Housing Consultant for Seniors

514 497-3775