Friday, May 21, 2010
Doing Something Right
From the first nights with my first little baby Gracie, my favorite part of the day is rocking & singing my babies. When they grew too big--and too many of them--for rocking, I reluctantly switched to snuggling in their beds with them for lullaby time.
I keep holding my breath, waiting for the night that they announce they are too old for nighttime singing.
Lately I've wondered if Grace and Mia were reaching that point. They seemed to prefer sister-giggle time to Mommy-singing time, which frustrated all of us. Lullabies are somewhat moot when the object of the singing is carrying on a private laughfest under the covers.
One night I became especially exasperated, after repeated reminders of the "be still and quiet if you want Mommy singing" rule. Playing the cheap trick of 'maybe-they-don't-value-it-because-they've-always-had-it' I said, "Girls, when I was a little girl, I never had lullabies at night. My mom didn't sing to us. Ever. So, if you've decided that you are too old for singing, just tell me and we'll stop doing this." I rather intentionally neglected to mention that, though my mom wasn't one for the lullaby thing, either she or my dad read to us every night, working our way through every volume of Little House on the Prarie, the Great Brain, and several retellings of Cheaper By the Dozen, so I truly don't feel deprived.
My kids saw it a bit differently, however. There was a moment of stunned silence. Grace asked, "You mean, your mom NEVER sang to you, not once, not even EVER???" Mia chimed in, "Didn't she even LOVE you?" I assured them that yes, Grandma definitely loved us, and did other nice things for us. She just wasn't a lullaby mom. Some are; some aren't.
Grace looked like she was about to cry. "But how did you do that, Mommy? How were you not SOOOOO scared at night?" Mia said, "Yeah, Mommy, you must have been SO brave, like, even braver than a kid is. You didn't even have singing at night." I told them that I had lots of sisters to sleep with at night, just like they do, so I wasn't scared. They weren't convinced.
"Poor, poor Mommy," Mia sighed. "You should have told us," Grace said. "We would sing to you." Mia whispered to herself, "I didn't even know there were kids whose mommies didn't sing to them every night."
I know this moment is fleeting. I know they are growing up faster than I can hold them here. I know that lullabies at night don't cover all of my parenting mistakes, or keep the world from intruding in all the ways that it does, and all the ways it will as time marches on. I know nighttime lullabies aren't the cure-all for every ill--societal, familial, or otherwise. I know that there are hundreds of ways to love your kids, and my favorite way won't work for everyone.
I'm just glad for one small moment each day of doing something right.