I grew up singing. I grew up hearing singing. My family sang; therefore, I sang. I used to say my dad had a song for everything. It didn’t matter what you said, he knew a song that fit perfectly. My life had a soundtrack made of many different songs from many different genres.
So, naturally, when I had children, I injected music into their lives. The easiest way to do this is via lullabies. What mother can keep herself from singing to her baby? Even the mother who knows she sings off-key will sing to her baby because she knows baby doesn’t mind. In those still, precious hush-darkened moments in the night when no one else is around to hear, she will softly sing to the precious downy-headed child in her arms, every note pouring out love.
Something I started with my first child and have continued to carry on from there is the tradition of each child having his/her own special lullaby. They love this and often ask for their song at bedtime or in the van.
My 10 year old son received a song I sang in Jr. High for a contest. It is called American Lullaby and speaks of the years just prior to the Depression when Daddies were keeping the wolf from the door by visiting the stockbroker and Mamas were playing bridge and Nursie was taking care of baby all the while. While the lyrics of the song are a bit shallow, the melody is beautiful.
My 7 year old daughter’s song is All the Pretty Little Horses. Interestingly enough, she has grown up to adore horses! I can remember countless hours of singing this to her as I nursed and rocked her with my toddler son at my feet. Precious, precious memories.
Our 4 year old daughter was given a song that used to make me cry. It is song from Sesame Street called I’d Like to Visit the Moon. I know it seems silly to cry at a song from Sesame Street, but the lyrics are amazing. It is sung by Ernie I believe, and he talks of visiting all these exotic places: the moon, the jungle, prehistoric times, but that no matter how far he goes away, he will always come home. Makes me sigh just to think about it.
Our 2 year old son is named in honor of my father with an Irish name, so it was perfectly natural to give him an Irish song, Be Thou My Vision. You should see his little ears prick up in church when we sing that song!
Our little Emily’s song was Summertime from Porgy & Bess with a not-so-operatic flair, courtesy of Mommy. It is sometimes difficult for me to think about the words of this song, especially the second verse, but I wanted to share them here…
One of these mornin’s you’re gonna rise up singin’,
Then you’ll spread your wings and take to the sky.
But ’til that mornin’ there’s a-nothin’ can harm you,
So, hush little baby and don’t you cry.
The thing this song has wrong is that the truth is that it was once she took to the sky that nothin’ could harm her anymore. She is held and rocked and sung to in a place where no harm will ever come to her.
I would encourage everyone reading this to consider designating a special lullaby for each of your children, something special they can carry with them as they grow, something they can share with their children…a legacy of lullabies.