“I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always.” I used to sing these words to my sons, each in turn, as I rocked them to sleep at night as part of their bedtime routine. Although the tune I used was mine, the words belong to Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw from their timeless book I’ll Love You Forever. My sons have grown older, but I’ll still sing this ditty to them when they’ve had a tough day. The message still works its magic. Truth be told, singing the words gets harder for me because I tend to get a big ol’ lump in my throat —their babyhood, toddlerhood, and young childhood have disappeared all too quickly.
I feel pride and awe when I look at the young men my boys are becoming. Also, I’m tickled that they unabashedly treasure the books we’ve shared, especially those which focus on the strength of my love for them. We have a special Valentine’s Day tradition where they each pull out their favorite childhood books. Then we’ll cuddle up on the couch and read them together. Here are some stories that come out annually:
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney — I can practically hear my youngest giggling as he asks me to read the book about “to the moon and back.” He’d quote along, tugging on his own ears, that little hare of mine.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein —Oh, this beautiful tale of a tree who loved her boy so much that she gave up everything to make him happy.
- Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton — I’m a huge Sandra Boynton fan; her books are fun, irreverent, and just plain silly. The words in this book have a cadence meant for singing. Snuggle Puppy, I’m awfully fond of you.
- The I LOVE You Book by Todd Parr —You can’t go wrong with a book whose message is I love you just the way you are.
As my oldest child prepares to head off to high school next year, I’m keenly aware that our precious moments together are becoming fewer. I savor modest adventures such as these, wishing some days for the ability to go back in time. “As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
Have you a special Valentine’s Day tradition you share with your family? Do share your story with us.