Mommy Dearest

May 16, 2012

Last weekend in church, the children’s message utilized the classic children’s book, “Love You Forever,” by Robert Munsch.  Beautifully, the service underscored the sacred unconditional love that comes from a parent figure. That same unconditional love comes from God to us, so the general theme of the book was simpaticowith shat was a gentle, touching service. True.  In the book, a loving mother rocks her child and sings to him.

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

It is heartwarming to know that this mother’s love transcends time and place.  She unconditionally loves her son.  As the book progresses, the child grows into a teenager, but still she reminds him…..

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

Nice. The story continues even as the child grows into an adult.

“That teenager grew and grew. He grew and he grew and he grew.  He grew until he was a grown-up man.  He left home and got a house across town. But sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town.  If all the lights in her son’s house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of his bed.  If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  And while she rocked him she sang, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

Whoa!  Whoooooa!  Hold the phone!  Back up.  Did I just read that correctly? She OPENED THE BEDROOM WINDOW, CRAWLED ACROSS THE FLOOR…PICKED HIM UP AND ROCKED HIM BACK AND FORTH??? Really? Her grown up son, who had moved into a house across town?  She breaks into his house to rock him?  If you insist, but if you ask me, what we have here is some good old fashioned nutty pie. This whole section of the story is a little too Norman Bates for my comfort level. Truly. This is where the sugar and spice turns a corner for me.  Think about it.  Seriously?  A grown woman stalks her son in his own home, waits until he is asleep, then crawls in through a window, slithers across the floor and stares at him for a while, then whispers a song to him.  Ok.  Ok.  I get it, but is it just me, or does this sound just a tad bit…well…creepy?  Really?  Is it just me?  If you, as an adult, were sleeping in your own home and your mother came crawling through the window, crept across the floor and started rocking your big self, would it seem just a touch…alarming? Pathetic?    Maybe in the deep south it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow because we are accustomed to our unstables running around loose hosting dinner parties but, for most of the world, well, it just might be a little red flag.  I understand that this book was written pre cell phones, pre text, pre a lot of things but still. What’s a loving mother to do?  I also understand that the immeasurable magnitude of the mother’s love is the heartbeat of the story but, really, this is just the type of activity that gets a person shot if the wrong neighborhood watchman is feeling a bit frisky.  I’m just saying…I know, I know.  The point is that a mother’s love never wanes even though the child becomes a man.  I understand all that.  I understand that this book is a classic for a reason. And maybe if I had children of my own I would regularly break into their homes in the middle of the night to watch them sleep.  And I must admit that this story even brings tears to my steely heart. We all want to know that our mother loves us regardless of time, place, distance, and… size, apparently.  But still. Really?  Crawling across the floor after sneaking into his home via his bedroom window while he is sleeping?  At first glance, all we see is the love this woman feels for her child, but at a second glance she seems just a shade fixated/obsessive/possessive/codependent, wouldn’t you say? If your own mother did this, would you just want to blast her or what?  What if the “boy” was caught off guard (no kidding) and in shock and self defense he boinked her across the head with a baseball bat?  Or better yet, what if Sonnyboy wasn’t alone as he slept?  How ugly would that scenario be?  Hmmmmm?  Mommy Dearest might be singing a different song then, don’tcha think? Jerry Springer could have a field day with that one.  I really do not mean to be a cynic here, but you tell me. I too loved my mother (still do) and have the fondest memories of her rocking me (specifically, to calm me after I once squirted lemon juice into my eye).  Sure, all this rocking and singing is perfectly appropriate up until a certain age.  The picture of it is a mental billboard for a caring, nurturing mother. You know, real Mary Cassatt stuff.  But Ladies really, once your children have moved into their own nest, a phone call followed up with a chicken pot pie would be just dandy.  I am just saying……

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4 Responses to “Mommy Dearest”

  1. Tom Anderson said

    I never had this book read…. don’t need to now.

  2. Charlotte Humphries said

    Love it. Even as I was ruining a tissue during the children’s sermon, part of me was thinking, “Yeah, bet his wife liked _that_.

  3. MJ said

    You are right on! It didn’t hit me how creepy it was until I was reading it to the children in church. I kept reading but thought to myself, “this is really crazy!”

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