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How my mother’s love is helping me become the man and father I am today

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Rett Nelson with his two kids

This is a story about a mother’s love for her son and how that love shaped him into the man he would become.

“I’ll love you forever,” a young mother said to her baby boy as she tucked him in bed one night.

Several years went by and the boy was now a toddler. Making messes were a normal part of his daily routine. Cleaning up after him became an exhausting chore for his mother. When the day was over and the little boy had finally drifted off to sleep, she went into his room, held him close and whispered softly, “I’ll love you forever.”

Now the boy was a teenager and he was as active as ever. His mom would kindly encourage him to make his bed or clean his room or some other household chore, but the boy wanted nothing to do with it. He was too busy playing ball, working out, hanging out with his friends, or listening to music. Though his mom missed the days when her son would listen, let alone talk or snuggle with her, late at night, when the boy was asleep, she’d still sneak into his room, hover over his bed and quietly whisper, “I’ll love you forever.”

The boy continued to mature and grow through high school graduation, college and eventually marriage. He then had a child of his own. The mother saw her son much less, but thought about him often. She’d call him up and ask how he was doing. He’d talk for a few minutes, but was quickly back to work. Though she was no longer able to tuck him in, every night before going to sleep, she’d whisper quietly as if her son could hear, “I’ll love you forever.”

One day the man received a phone call. It was his mom. She was much older and not feeling well. The man went over to see his mom. He snuck into her room quietly, not wanting to wake her. As he held her hand and sat by her side, she opened her eyes and struggled to say, “I’ll love you forever.”

Leaning down to hug his mom, the man held his mom close and whispered softly into her ear, “I’ll love you forever.”

As the man arrived home that night, his baby daughter was already asleep in her crib. He walked up the stairs and tiptoed into her room. He picked her up, held her close, and with tears in his eyes, softly said, “I’ll love you forever.”

This is the story Robert Munsch wrote in his book “Love you Forever,” and is a book my mom read to me as a child. (It was adapted into a short film on YouTube, which you can watch in the video player above). To me, it illustrates perfectly how her love for me has influenced my life and shaped who I am as a man and a father.

Though I am far from the man she would probably want me to be, I’ve always known that she loves me. As a father, I strive to show that same love to my kids. If my children feel half as loved by me, maybe, in the end, my life will have amounted to something.

To moms everywhere, Happy Mother’s Day. We’ll love you forever.