As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Coincidentally Tommy pulled this book to read the other night before bed. It came from a huge stack of books we inherited and I had yet to read it.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Love You Forever is the story of a little baby boy who grows up to be a mischievous tyke, a smelly teen, and eventually a young man and father.  Each page is a different stage in the boy’s life and throughout it all, no matter the age, his mother continues to sneak into his room at night, cradle him in her arms, and rock him back and forth while singing:

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

I don’t know about you, but I religiously creep into Tommy’s room every night after he is asleep to do nothing more than stare at him.  When I turned the page to see this picture below I laughed so hard because there couldn’t be a better representation of moms across the planet!

As we turned a couple of pages and got deeper into the story it started to hit me…wait, this really is me.

The boy grows up and is now a young man, and yet, his mother remains vigilant.  Like clock work, she sneaks into his room when he is fast asleep, cradles him in her arms, and rocks him back and forth while singing:

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

Then one day he buys a house across town; but have no fear,  his mother is near.

I can honestly say that I would have no shame doing this, and I can honestly say that Tommy would probably put me in a special institution in the blink of an eye.

In the final pages the young man grows to be a man and eventually a father.  He receives a call from his, now elderly, mother who tells him to hurry to her side.  The book reads:

Well, that mother, she got older.  She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, “You’d better come see me because I’m very old and sick.” The son went to his mother.  He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  And he sang this song:

I’ll love you forever,                                                                                                            I’ll like you for always,                                                                                                       As long as I’m living,                                                                                                        My mommy you’ll be.

Cue the tears!

I closed the book quietly, squeezed Tommy as tight as I could and just sat there in the dark with him rocking back and forth for a moment while he fell asleep on my shoulder.  I thought about a lot of things:

A) Why in the hell is this a children’s book?

B) What can I do to make this moment last forever?

C) How does my mother-in-law do it?

The circle of life is absolutely beautiful.  Growing up in a loving home and being blessed to have all of my family living in the same city just minutes away is so special.  Meeting the man you were meant to be with and having the honor of being his wife is something every girl deserves.

And the greatest blessing of all is, without a doubt, my son.

Carrying a baby for 9 months is an incredible journey; but becoming a mother changes your life forever. I refuse to believe that Tommy will ever leave my house, or go to college, or fall in love and dare to bring another girl in front of me that he “loves” and “wants to spend the rest of his life with” – yea right!  Who does this chick think she is???

Rob and I were at a wedding this past weekend and at the reception I watched from my table, located right next to the dance floor, as our friend, the groom, grabbed his mother for the mother-son dance.  As his mother approached him he said, “Hi momma,” with a huge smile.  He was so happy and it was the cutest moment. As they began to dance my eyes welled up with tears.  I looked at Rob and told him that Tommy will never marry.  He laughed in my face. 🙂

Which brings me to one of the hardest things, I think I will ever have to do…let Tommy go. I know I’ve got a lot of time to work on this, but this darn book really brought it all home.  We (I’m talking to you, wives) must truly honor, love, and respect our mother-in-law. She helped shape your husband to have the qualities of a man you fell in love with.  Remember that she is the one who cleaned his bottom for many years. Somehow little boys turn into men and fathers, and they had to have learned it somewhere.  Think about that for a moment.

I will be the first to admit that I have not always been perfect at this but no matter what, my mother-in-law continues to love and accept me just the way that I am and I am forever grateful for that.  I can only hope and pray that I will be half as wonderful to my daughter-in-law one day.

This simple little book moved me so much.  I walked out of Tommy’s room that night with tears in my eyes and immediately told Rob – let’s put this book away for a while, not really the most age appropriate book for a 17-month old (or his mommy for that matter).

If you gain anything from this post I hope you will take a moment as you enjoy your weekend to truly soak up every moment with anyone you encounter.  Remember that at the end of the day life really is about the people closest to you in your life.  Take a step back to re-evaluate your priorities, and ask your self what really matters to you and your family.

Now, I dare you to turn off your phone (GASP!), turn off the TV (OH NO), heck…stop reading this post and go love on your babies, dogs, hubbies, cats, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandmothers – whomever you choose.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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