I had the pleasure of meeting Robert Munsch multiple times when I was growing up. One of the teachers at my elementary school was neighbours with him, and at least twice a year, managed to convince him to come down and read. The school would rent out the largest auditorium in the city (At the University of Waterloo campus, it was their theatre), invite nearby schools, and fill the room. He’d read his classics, with input and audience participation, and never failed to entertain.
My mom was a huge fan of his, and one of the books she read to me, was the beautiful “I’ll Love You Forever”. At the time, I could never understand why my mom would get choked up towards the end of the book, it just never made sense. Until I re-read it when I was in my early twenties.
And it all made sense. Here was a mother, who had a beautiful child, and watches him grow. And as he grows, and changes, no matter what, his mother loves him and takes care of him. But as they both begin to age, and his mother starts to grow older, the tables are turned, and her son becomes the caregiver.
It’s such a lovely story, and I can see now why it made my mom cry. While everyone understands that our parents age faster than we do, its hard to accept the reality that one day they won’t be there, and that they will die. With this particular story, Munsch wraps it up in such a way that it is a cycle of life – One day you will take care of your parents, the way they took care of you.