We often don’t pay it enough attention. What it feels like. What it looks like. It’s importance. It’s value. To be loved and to feel loved. We take it for granted.
I try not to worry myself too much about my baby boy meeting milestones and benchmarks. I know he’ll meet them when he meets them. And no matter what, I’ll be there to nurture him along the way. I want to ensure and know that he’s going to be a good person. I want to know that he cares and values not only himself, but others. Who really cares about when he started walking. What does it matter when he said his first word and how many words he can say. None of that matters if he’s of sucky character. What matters is that he knows I love him entirely. I want him to feel that he’s loved. I want him to love himself and show others love.
At times, it feels like the the only constant for me is my mother’s love as well as the love I have for my little guy. A mother’s love. When I think of a mother’s love, I can’t help but think of I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. This profound book displays this type of love. An enduring, cyclical, timeless love.
This simple story however has very polarizing views. People either love it or hate it. And those that hate it think it’s creepy. I fall in the ‘I love it’ category.
Growing up, my mother read it to me, and in turn I’ve even read it to her. While teaching, I read it to my students and their mothers (and/or caregivers) every Mother’s Day and it is always well-received with laughter, smiles, hugs, kisses and feelings of deep, pure love.
It wasn’t until I went to teacher’s college that I learned that the book was somewhat controversial. And then years later, during my Masters, while taking a class on children’s literature it came up again, with sentiments of great disgust. I was shocked. How could something so pure as the depiction of love and responsibility between a mother and child be seen as anything else?
As I reflect on my second Mother’s Day with my baby boy earth-side, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed that I ended the day as exhausted as I started it. My Mother’s Day began with a sleepless night. A night with a sick and fussy toddler, an early rise to him throwing up. Hurrying to make a Mother’s Day breakfast for my mom and grandmother. An outing to the museum spent with my family (fun, but exhausting). Doing laundry. An evening spent feeding my baby boy and getting him ready for bed, which he was resistant to. Did I mention I was exhausted. It was Mother’s Day, the one day out of the year that if you’re going to get a break, this will be it. But nope, not this year. Not for me.
I remember telling my mom, the day before Mother’s Day that she didn’t have to worry about cooking dinner. Sunday’s are her cooking day. I told her if there are any days she can count on not cooking, it’s Mother’s Day and her birthday. She deserves a break. She never gets a break. And now, I truly get it. I understand the meaning of a mother’s work in it’s entirety. It is constant. Never-ending. And no matter how tired or how sick we are, we keep going. Our love is taken for granted, but we give it anyway. Only with the small hope of receiving a little in return. And, maybe a short break.
And so, Mother’s Day has concluded and I’ve been appreciated by means of hugs, kisses, cards with loving words and beautiful flowers that warm my heart every time I look at them. But truthfully, I’m still really tired and would love a break. I didn’t get to read I Love You Forever to my little guy this year, he likely wouldn’t have sat through it, anyway. But I anticipate reading it to him in years to come. Because, regardless of how tired I am, I will love him forever.
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living,
my baby you’ll be.”
Regardless of how unloved I may feel, I will ensure he always feels loved. Just as my mother has done for me. I will love him for who he is and not what I or anyone else expects him to be. I will be a source of unconditional love no matter which milestones he meets or misses and no matter how tired and in need of a break I may be. I’ll love him forever, I’ll like him for always, As long as I’m living, my baby he’ll be.
Happy Mother’s Day everyday to all who fulfill mothering duties day in and day out, tirelessly and lovingly. Thank you.