Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the United States. It marked my 15th Mother’s Day and I have to say, that is a weird thing to type. Well, the 15th part is weird. Fifteen times I’ve “celebrated” Mother’s Day as a mother? No way. And, yet, it is true.
I have a few crystalline Mother’s Day memories. The first was when Mister Soandso was my handsome boyfriend and showed me a book he was mailing home to his mom for Mother’s Day. It was Robert Munsch’s I’ll Love You Forever. If you are wondering how many pages I got through before I was crying, I think the number was something close to none. If you don’t know the story behind the book, please read here.
The beauty of that book, besides all the freaking beautiful parts of it, is that every person who has ever read the book makes up their own song to sing while reading it and that’s exactly how Mr. Munsch thinks it should be. That’s a universal story, right there folks.
Anyway, my first reading of I’ll Love You Forever didn’t include singing because I was silently reading it, sitting on the floor of my dorm room, next to my boyfriend who was all misty-eyed. But years later, I owned my own copy of the book and I had my own precious son sitting on my lap being read to, and I made up my own tune to sing those lines to. Actually, I mostly borrowed them from Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Stewball. Sleep deprivation can limit a new mama’s musical repetoir.
Three babies I rocked and cuddled and tucked in next to me. And three babies I softly sang my version of I’ll Love You Forever over and over until they finally slept.
It is a part of their childhoods and a part of my experience being a mother.
And then yesterday, those words became something more for me.
I got home from work and Mister Soandso told me to look in our room for a Mother’s Day gift from Middlest. I probably haven’t mentioned it much here, but Middlest is extremely artistic. She does something classified as “art” every day. Literally. All sorts of mediums, all sorts of inspirations – every day she creates something. (Have I mentioned that I’ve banned glitter from our home? Again.)
I got to the first “forever” before I was teared up.
As much as I love this gift of hers, I love the other gift she gave me, the one she never knew she was giving me.
She gave me the reminder that we live on long after we cease to inhabit our bodies. One day I will die, but as long as my three children are alive, I will always be a mother. If they have children during my lifetime, I will always be a grandmother as long as they live.
We all continue as long as there is someone who remembers us in whatever role we played for them.
And that is why forever is such a beautiful gift…it is in the forever that we are able to continue.
Thank you my dear Middlest. I will indeed always be your mommy and it will always be my very favorite thing – mothering you and your brothers.
And when the time comes, I will be waiting for you in the forever out among the stars.