Monday, July 17, 2006
Love you Forever... or until mommy DIES!
I must be one cold-hearted, non feeling bitty. My sis in law gave me a bedtime story book as a gift for baby #2. She says she cries every time she reads it. Matter of fact, she almost started crying telling me she cries when she reads it. I'm thinking, wow, this must be a good book. Never could I have been more wrong. The book in question is apparently a "classic" (for the life of me can't figure out why) that's been around since 1945. How did I go this long without knowing about it I'll never know but I am so relieved it was never read to me when I was an impressionable child. The title of the book? "Love you Forever".
The story starts out ok, very sweet actually... but then it get's weird fast. Starts with a mother and her young infant son. After he's sleeping she crawls across the floor and then rocks him singing a lullaby. As the boy ages and starts to do bad things the mother continues to crawl across the floor, when he's nine he starts swearing in front of grandma (the little punk), when he's a teenager he smells and eats pizza, still she's crawling. Here's the ringer, now he's grown up, an adult who moves out on his own. Late in the middle of the night the mother straps a ladder to the roof of the station wagon, drives across town, breaks in through a window, CRAWLS across the floor and rocks her full grown son singing him that same creepy lullaby.
"I love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be".
Shortly after that, she's too old and decrepit to go stalking, so the son comes and rocks her, calling her "mommy" in the song instead of baby. Then, she dies. The man then goes in and sings the same song to his infant daughter.
Now the people that LOVE this book say it's a story of a mother's never ending unconditional love. Other people who detest the book find it creepy that she's stalking and rocking a full grown son. Here's my problem with the book. WHY IS SHE CRAWLING?? Maybe when the baby is tiny, you might crawl so they don't see you, but then you drive across town, breaking and entering into your grown sons' house... and still you crawl across the floor? If she can handle a stick shift and a ladder, she's obviously capable of walking. And the sing-song refrain is odd too.. 'as long as I'm living'... that's a nice thought to put in a kid's head right before bed. Hey, Susie, we're all mortal, oh yeah, and mommy will DIE one day... sweet dreams?That's nice.
What's with all this morbid stuff for kids anyway? Grim fairy tales, Ring around the Roses (about the plague), Rock-a-bye-baby (nice lullaby about an infant falling out of tree), and other stories and songs from the past that have death, dying, and maiming as the underlying theme? When you've got this beautiful, tiny child in your arms, the last thing I want to do is remind them life sucks and I'm gonna die. This world's a wacky place, let's try to keep the children loved and safe as long as possible. Oh yeah, and whatever you do, don't read them this book.