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Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Love You Forever"

Our neighbors left the children's book "Love you Forever" in the recycling area.  I've always seen this book prominently displayed at the bookstore but I've never purchased it because it seems like one of those books that appeals more to me than Eliza.  However, she's proven me wrong in this case.

Eliza hasn't been so interested in books lately.  She's too active and having too much fun jumping around and putting fake baby food jars into buckets to sit and listen to me talk.  She prefers turning the book pages herself and babbling, then throwing in a word seen in the artwork like "sun" or "green fish."  "I read, Mama," she says and I ooh and nod in agreement.

One days, she walked through our apartment pushing her doll stroller and I walked with her, picked up this book and figured I'd read it aloud, more for my own benefit.  She surprised me by pushing the stroller aside and demanding I sit on the couch.  I complied and we sat down.  This book is rather wordy but she sat through all of it and really seemed to understand what this book says.

This book is all about a baby that grows into manhood.  It starts with a mother holding her young baby, continues through his boyhood and the mother's old age.  Towards the end of the book, the man cradles his mother and sings the song she sang to him throughout his childhood. The last page of the book shows this man singing the song to his own baby.

And just about every I read this book I cry.  I cry because this girl who is going to be my only child, is growing up too fast.  I love all the great stuff she's doing but I really don't know how parents let their children go.  I know I have to do it, I think I will but it's so painful for me to accept this reality.  I remember holding her as a baby, thinking I didn't know how I'd cope when she wasn't a baby anymore.  For the first time, I really understood why my best friend had six kids.  

Now she's two and I did more than cope, I thrived and I'm still loving almost every minute of it.  But I hate to think of the future, of her in a life far removed from mine, of myself old and crippled with some kind of ailment.  So often, I find myself wanting to freeze time, to stay here just a little longer.  I promise myself if I could freeze one day, make it last 60 hours instead of 24, I'll cherish every minute.  I won't complain or yell or wish I was anywhere else.  

C's kids were over tonight and for the first time, Eliza asked for them to read to her, not me.  I know she gets tired of Mama, I know this is a good thing but I was deeply hurt.  I did the right thing, though.  I called Eliza's sister into the room and she happily trotted in.  

I'm going out tomorrow night and that's a good thing.  But I'm already mourning the loss of yet another evening without my girl.  I know I need a life because my daughter's already got one.  I spend an awful lot of time with her.  

But this time is so precious, so fleeting and wonderful, there's always a pang when I look at my watch and realize Eliza is in bed and I won't see her until morning.  

Just as a funny aside, as we read this book the other day and I was in my usual tearful state, Eliza held up her thumb and said "I've got a booger!"

Definitely cleared the tears from my eyes.


Patty said...

I bought this book when my daughter (whose going to be 13-agh-tomorrow)was a baby. I read it to her one time - cried all the way through it. I never was able to read it again - although I still have it to give to her when she has her own child. A beautiful book but such a tear jerker!!!!

Vycki said...

I cried the first time I read this book to Mason. Since then I've read it hundreds of times without tears, and infact its no longer in his rotation of favorite books, but I keep hoping that it will make a reaperance.

heiresschild said...

my daughter is grown now with her own 2-1/2 year old daughter, and i'm so glad i savored every moment with her. i grieved for a bit when she left home for college, and again when she moved to california. i think it's harder for Moms, but our children are on loan to us, and we teach and train them to make their own lives. you have a lot of years with Eliza, and i'm glad you're enjoying them and watching her grow. i often wish i had had more children, but that's how life is sometimes.