Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie


My oldest son Cameron came screaming into the world July 15, 1997 at 11:02 AM. I fell in love with him from the minute I saw him. We had a rough start in some ways–Cameron was what some people call a “high maintenance” kind of baby. He always needed to be held, rocked, nursed, amused.

In hindsight, I think that there was a reason I had a baby like Cameron. He literally taught me to be a good mommy–because, at the ripe old age of 22, even though I thought I was an old pro at baby-raising (you know, due to the years of babysitting I had under my belt)–in reality, I was clueless.

Cameron’s demanding ways (and piercing screams) were incentive enough to take care of him–even if I was so tired that I fell asleep standing up. I couldn’t stand to see him in pain or hear him scream, so I did what I could to make it better–which in turn helped us to bond in ways that only parents can understand. (And, on a completely unrelated note, thanks to Cameron, I now have a talent that allows me to calm almost any fussy baby–at least one who isn’t hungry or poopy LOL. It has come in handy on many occasions!)

As Cameron has grown over the years, he’s hit some snags and bumps, just like anyone else. Still, as I see him developing his own identity and becoming his own person, I see someone with a good heart and a strong moral compass. I see an intelligent, handsome and truly genuine boy, one who is a little bit like an M&M–sweet; in the middle with a hard candy shell.

He’s smart and strong and opinionated. He knows that he can come and talk to me about anything–and believe me when I tell you that he does. (I would tell you some of the stories, but that would break parent/child confidentiality, which may not be a law in the US, but might as well be at our house.)

I’m struggling to fully express my feelings for this amazing boy who is closer to becoming a man every day, so I’m going to share one of our favorite pieces of literature. For Cameron’s first Christmas, I bought him the popular book “Love You Forever.” I had heard it read in high school at a speech meet and decided right then that I’d buy it for my first child.

I remember the first time I read it to him. I was holding him on my lap and as he squirmed, I read the words through my tears. (Yep, I’m a dork!) But I don’t know many mothers (or fathers) who can read this story and not cry a little.

Here, in honor of my beautiful son, is the story:

Love You Forever

by Robert Munsch

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held 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.

The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves. He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and he took his mother’s watch and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes his mother would say, “this kid is driving me CRAZY!”

But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. 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.

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was nine years old. And he never wanted to come in for dinner, he never wanted to take a bath, and when grandma visited he always said bad words. Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo!

But at night time, when he was asleep, the mother quietly opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep, she picked up that nine-year-old boy 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.

The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!

But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. 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.

That teenager 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.

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, “You’d better come see me because I’m very old and sick.” So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always…

But she couldn’t finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my Mommy you’ll be.

When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:

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


To Cameron, I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. Even when you’re 100. Even when you’re cranky. I am so proud of you every single day of your life. You have taught me so many things and having you has made me strong in ways that I didn’t know I could be. My life is better because you’re here and I’m so grateful to have you. Love, Mom

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