A few months ago my mother, infant daughter, and I went to go visit my grandmother. While we were there, my grandmother just happened to be sorting through various old cards, pictures and stories that were created and given to her by her eight children. After rummaging through the large pile, she handed me a faded construction paper card and said with a wry smile, “Your mom gave this to me when she was a little girl.” When I opened the card, there was a message scrawled in a young child’s handwriting that read:

“Dear Dad and Mom. I love you. Do you love me? I hope you love me. Do not give me away OK.”

I wish I could go back in time and ask my five year old mother what prompted her to write that card. A small quarrel with her parents? Her older siblings teasing her? A wonderfully vast imagination? Who knows. My grandmother is one of the most kind, loving, giving, and selfless women I know- so I’m positive that it wasn’t for lack of affection.

In today’s day and age it’s pretty rare to come across a family with eight children, though it seems as if a lot of modern day parents are as busy as if they did have eight children. Between working, taking care of the household, and living in a “plugged in” society where the fast paced rabbit hole of social media is literally at our fingertips- time and people can easily get lost in the blur.

In order to gain a more scientifically grounded perspective at how being chronically busy can potentially affect our children, we look to developmental theory. According to child development theorist Erik Erickson, we typically base our future relationships off of the relationships that we formed with our earliest caregivers. In other words, we essentially learn that we enter into relationships expecting and anticipating the same quality of love and time from others that we were given as children.

After I read my mother’s letter I was deeply moved and inspired. I knew I wanted to create something that could be used to interrupt the busy continuum of our lives, and help caregivers to slow down and have a moment (with a message) for their children. That evening, after I put my daughter to bed I sat down and wrote a short lyrical children’s book titled, “Will You Still Love Me?” It’s a story that’s fun to read, highly relatable, and provides a golden opportunity for caregivers to directly (or indirectly) assure their children of their infallible love. I hope you enjoy.

Will You Still Love Me?

One day Evie asked, “Mama, will you always love me?” Mama replied, “Oh yes, of course I will honey.”

Evie sat and thought for a little while. Then she asked with a great big smile…

Will you still love me if I don’t brush my teeth?

Or if I get real muddy when I play in the creek?

Will you still love me if I get a bad grade at school?

Or if sometimes I don’t want to follow all the rules?

Will you still love me if I give my brussel sprouts to the dog?

Or if your bathtub is where I decide to keep my pet frog?

Will you still love me if I tell you a lie?

Or if I forget to be nice, and make my little brother cry?

Will you still love me if I talk too loud?

Or if I say something silly in front of a crowd?

Will you still love me even when I yell and scream?

Or if I sleep in your bed because I have a bad dream?

Will you still love me if my canvas is the wall?

Or if I play hide and seek in a store at the mall?

Will you still love me if I use too many bubbles in the bath?

Or if I put on all your make up just to make you laugh?

Will you still love me when I forget to say, “Please?”

Or if I use your shirt as a tissue after I sneeze?

Will you still love me if I eat the last slice of pie?

Or if I repeatedly ask you, “But mama, why?”

Will you still love me mama, even after all these things I might do? Will you still love me mama? Well, will you?

Mama picked up Evie and snuggled her in her lap, kissed her on the forehead and said in a tone that was matter of fact,

“My darling, precious, sweet little lady, there are no ifs, ands, buts or maybes.

No matter what you may or may not do, There is absolutely nothing in the world that could make ME stop loving YOU.”

Interested publishers and illustrators can reach Lynn at [email protected].

Originally published at medium.com