Buying wrapping paper the other day, Daughter picked out some with Eskimos and igloos and such on it and said, "I like this one...it reminds me of the book you always used to read to me when I was little."
The book was Mama Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joose Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee. I have read this book eleventy-zillion times. It's about a little Inuit girl and her mother. The illustrations are divine and the story itself one of my very favorites. If you've got a niece...or if you've got a friend who's a mom of a new daughter, I strongly encourage you to get this book.
Mama, Do you love me?
Yes I do, Dear One.
I Love You more than the raven loves his treasure
More than a dog loves his tail,
More than a whale loves his spout.
I’ll love you until
The umiak flies into the darkness, till the stars turn to fish in the sky
And the puffin howls at the moon
Mama, what if I carried our eggs-our ptarmigan eggs!-
And I tried to be careful, and I tried to walk slowly, but I fell and the eggs broke?
Then I would be sorry. But still, I would love you.
What if I put salmon in your parka, ermine in your mittens, and lemmings in your mukluks?
Then I would be angry
What if I threw water at our lamp?
Then, Dear One, I would be very angry.
But still, I would love you.
What if I ran away?
Then I would be worried
What if I stayed away and sang with wolves and slept in a cave?
Then, Dear One, I would be very sad.
But still I would love you.
What if I turned into a musk-ox?
Then I would be surprised.
What if I turned into a walrus?
Then I would be surprised and a little scared.
What if I turned into a polar bear, and I was the meanest bear you ever saw
And I had sharp, shiny teeth
And I chased you into your tent and you cried?
Then I would be very surprised and very scared
But still, inside the bear, you would be you
And I would love you.
I will love you,
Forever and for always,
Because you are my Dear One.
And I think to myself that if this is one of the things she remembers about her childhood...then I haven't completely botched the job!