“Heaven, I’m in heaven...” Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, hell even Mel Torme… I’m not picky. One of the most beautiful songs ever recorded is Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek.”
And every night I think I might crack, I might not make it. Swaying back and forth in the darkness of our bedroom there is a moment when I can hear Lucy exhale and her head falls against my shoulder. I sway, I bounce a few extra moments to make sure it is really gonna stick and I lower my head, my cheek rests against hers… and every night, I am in heaven once again. As we dance, slowly, back and forth cheek to cheek.
Motherhood doesn’t turn you in to a saint. You still have the moments that you think what the shit was I thinking, this is a thankless job. I have that moment nightly when I think how long will this last? The screaming every night… and then my cheek rests against hers and I know we will make it through at least one more day.
As I paced with Lucy the other night, my eye on the clock because she has just about exactly an hour in her, I started to giggle. I came out of the bedroom to tell MQD that as long as this hour may seem now, the two, maybe three hours we will spend saying “Get back in your bed, Lucy” when she is four years old, they will seem exponentially longer.
You never realize how few lullabies you really know until you have a baby. I had also never given any thought to how incredibly sad the lullabies I did know are. (Please don’t take my sunshine away, are you fucking kidding me?) When Emily was a baby we rocked and I sang. That poor kid might have thought her name was Tennessee Jed. Eventually I looked up lyrics to some lullabies, tried them out, but none of them resonated with me.
Eventually I settled on one song, a long one with lots of rambly lyrics, R.E.M.’s “You are the Everything.” I could get at least to the second verse before I got weepy, no small feat for the new mother. And now I find myself settling on this song yet again.
“She is so young and old, I look at her and I see the beauty of the light of music…”
As I swayed and I sang I remembered when I first heard that song. It was on the Green album, 1988. I had it on tape. It was the summer I discovered the bikini and “laying out” and walkmans and baby oil. I thought I was so old. That song used to smell like fresh cut grass and lemonade and composition books (because even at 12 I had developed that teenage affectation for carrying around a notebook to record my most scintillating thoughts) and hardback copies of Stephen King’s books swiped from my parent’s bookcases.
Now that song still smells like babies. “You are here with me, You have been here and you are everything…” I know both of my girls were with me then, too, in my back yard, trying to look casual as I watched the side of our fence, hoping that someone might walk by. I hadn’t met them. In truth, I had not even really begun to imagine them. But they were there. They have always been there. They have always been everything to me.
And now they are here. My girls. I waited a long time for this. And even the screaming, the late night crying, I won’t wish it away. Close my eyes, sing 25 year old R.E.M. tunes and try and smell the cut grass? Sure.
But I am soaking it up. Like the sunshine in my back yard.
I thought my lack of lullabies was because I’m only an auntie — I had to resort to Christmas carols with my sobbing nephew a few months ago. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen seemed to be quite a hit. :)
Oh man!! XMas carols are a PERFECT idea!
Thank you for this. It’s good to be reminded how awesome my kids are.
I always fell back on Golden Slumbers or Sweet Baby James (using cowgirl instead of cowboy at Nora’s insistence). And ever since Nora saw Mary Poppins I sing Feed the Birds almost every night. Lately Davis has started requesting specific Beatles songs. “Lemme Down, mama? Bootiful Boy? *yawn* Lello Summarine?”
I can never think of any good songs to sing either! I’m stuck with singing the alphabet song doing sign language while we’re in the car and I’m trying to get EB out of a tantrum. It is very NOT exciting. Love this post, BTdubs.
Our songs of choice for lullabies are “Baby Mine” and “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. You know, the song Dumbo’s mom sings to him when she’s in jail and a song about how you’ll off yourself if your love ever leaves you.
We’re a super peppy bunch over here.
You slay me kiddo. I love you.
I sang Patsy Cline “Crazy” and Bonnie Raitt’s “Whisky” to my child….”Yes, baby, I’ve been drinking….” something to keep the insanity at bay (and they are the only two songs I can sing relatively well). Whenever I find myself in a difficult situation, my mom says “oh well, you never liked a boring life anyway”. Those moms, they always know what to say. Love this post.
I’ve turned “In the Jungle” from a peppy doo-wop number to a folk ballad. Mostly because it’s the only song I could remember. I once sang “O Canada” to my daughter because I’d run out of songs and was so. freaking. tired. I came back to my room to find my husband in hysterics over what he’d heard through the baby monitor.
Poor Siri — trying to guess what your baby is saying!
Oh, and there’s also all that happy stuff about babies being sweet, yada, yada, yada. I have teenagers, so my memories of the sweet stuff is fading fast! :) I assume the memories will flood back when they bring me grandchildren to play with and baby-sit.
As tiring as it can be, I loved the quite, late night swaying. It made me really feel like a dad.
Sophie always got The Beatles when I walked around with her in the middle of the night. “I’m Only Sleeping” and “Dear Prudence” and eventually “I’m so Tired”.
Charlotte reacted best to The Stones. I think the first smile I got from her was when I was singing “Street Fighting Man”.
This seems to fit with both of their personalities…
You’re so right–please don’t take my sunshine away? I’ve always hated that. I say, “And I’m thankful for you every day.” Cheesy, I know. But hopefully no anticipatory abandonment issues.
Wow, I can relate to your thoughts in so many ways. Finding myself in quite a few “what was I thinking” moments lately with our twins, so it’s encouraging to be reminded of the ‘big picture’, where it’s all worth while. Tnx