Because I am perverse like that, when the editors of Literary Mama suggested Mother's Day columns for May, I immediately thought of my least favorite mothers in children's literature. I know The Runaway Bunny is a classic, and clearly someone in my family loves it, given the torn cover and curling pages of the copy in my hand, but I consider it one of the most horrifying books in children's literature. I get the supposed point, really I do: in luscious full-color, double-page, developmentally-appropriate spreads (here's the bird bunny and his mother, the tree), The Runaway Bunny reassures children that their mothers love them, no matter what, and will always be there for them, no matter how rebellious their urges. But the bunny mother in The Runaway Bunny is a minor offender compared to the human mother in Love You Forever, the one who loves her son so much she commits a felony to express it.
When he's a grown man, she drives across town with a ladder on top of her car, climbs into his window -- here's where we get felonious, what with the breaking and entering -- takes him in her arms and sings him her song. I've always thought that what bothered me about The Runaway Bunny and Love You Forever was the way the mothers impinge on their children's independence and privacy (I'm not even getting into the implications of both children being boys). Perhaps it is a mark of my own age and developmental status that I now feel sad for these mothers, rather than angry at them. This is where my students -- or, probably, my own children -- would say I was pushing it, reading way too much into a couple of children's books, and perhaps I am. Yet these books horrified me even when I read them to my own young children, for they present a blueprint for motherhood that never seemed feasible, let alone desirable, for either mother or child. I take comfort in that the books are meant for our littlest children who have little interest in growing up and leaving our grasp. Yes, Libby, the horrible horrible "Giving Tree" definitely needs to form the third in this terrifying triumvirate. It's a relief to hear other mothers feel the same way I do about these two books (especially Love You Forever, which I tossed for all the reasons outlined in your essay. And yes, I do realize that my continuing love for this book implies that I have yet to fully grow up. My mom took Runaway Bunny as a guide to parenting and now (30+) years later seems to have trouble understanding why we have issues. She was kind enough to bring my childhood copy when she came to visit for my daughter's birth. I don’t usually watch romantic stuffs but this one made me really want to watch more of its kind.


Paige: I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.
Leo: I vow to love you and no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find a way back to each other.
Her mother said something like: I stayed for the many good things he did and not left for the only wrong he had done. I saw the movie with my husband last night,I was surprised he actually took me to watch it!
These lines could be great additions for a future wedding vow — hopefully, I get to use some of these in the near future.
We were just 1 signature away from divorce, and suddenly I regain my common sense and decided to win her heart back and make her fell in love with me again. It’s been 14 months now, and things are getting far2 better than before, we finally could call ourselves family again.
I so want to be in love, but nobody has taken the time to consider me to be their Valentine :(. I’ve watched it finally and just proves true love transcends even if our memory fails us. He becomes a rambunctious toddler, a resistant boy, and an outlandish teenager, but no matter how big or crazy he gets, his mother is determined to replicate that primal scene. At the end of the book, he comes to her house, takes her in his arms, sings her the song, and then goes home and sings it to his baby daughter. Your mother will always love you and be there for you, no matter what you do or where you go, and in this one the mother even gets a reward: eternal love proclaimed. Rereading the books for this column, though, I found myself taking a different perspective. Certainly you could say these picture books are aimed at the psychological needs of families with younger children. I'll love my children for ever and for always, but I'm all in favor of them running away on their own adventures. She is a contributor to the anthologies It’s a Girl and Mama PhD and her book Time, Space, and Gender in the Nineteenth-Century British Diary will be published by Palgrave Macmillan later this year.


Even when I didn't have kids of my own yet and still bought into the "perfect, all loving, self-sacrificing mother" myths, I found it icky and didn't like it. Real life story – at dito daw sa lugar namin sa New Mexico (if I heard right) naganap ang lahat!
As I read it, The Runaway Bunny tells children they can never escape their stalker moms, their mothers control their lives, and there's no point in even trying to escape. It begins with a mother rocking her newborn baby in her arms and singing a song about how she'll love him forever. The last thing I say to them at bedtime is "I love you forever and for always" (god forbid, I'm guessing I got it from this damn book). Don't they have better things to do than stalk their children's desires or drive to their houses in the middle of the night to hug them? As the mother of a tween who walks home from school by herself and a teen who roams all over the greater Boston area by public transportation, mutual independence is a fact of my life, not a fear, and goodness knows I'm benefiting from it (yes, mothers of young children, someday you will be able to go for a run whenever you want!).
While they do, I'll take off on mine, and then we can all come home, tell our stories, and rejoice in the life we share, without needing to chase each other down or sneak through each other's windows. In her previous life as an English professor, she taught nineteenth-century British literature, feminist theory, and writing. The first deals with a mother stalking a son throughout his life, the second is a reassurance to a small child that Mommy will keep an eye on baby to make sure he won't get lost.
We lit some paper lanterns and released them together, signifying the idea that we are all still a family but are going to be off on adventures more separately and then will come back together.
The characters of the movie do gave their own memorable and quotable quotes that deserves to be posted and remembered so here they are. But there is something so profoundly abject about the mother crawling across the floor, something so profoundly intrusive about her getting into her child's bed to hold him while he sleeps, and something so profoundly pathetic about the fact that he only explicitly returns her love when she is "too old and sick" to sing her song herself, that the whole book just makes me queasy. They are growing up relatively unscathed by our literary choices, so hopefully no harm done.



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