Tonight I sang to my ten-year-old at bedtime. It’s been ages since she’s asked for a song, and now, the rare times that I do sing, she humors me.
Every parent has probably heard the phrase, “The days are long but the years are short.” At the end of those long days, even the times when getting my child into bed was a rescue effort for my sanity, the musical part of the bedtime ritual put me in the moment. I didn’t rush it. The songs were when time stopped, and I was able to grab it and hang on for just a little while longer.
Frequently, I am shocked at how close those long-gone moments seem. I feel like I can reach behind me a few feet and just pull them out of the past. And then I realize I’m thinking about something that happened seven years or even a decade ago. It’s the manipulation of time. How can something I rushed through so quickly break my heart because it’s gone?
I often recall an evening when my ten-year-old was a baby. After months of successfully putting her to bed with no crying, she kept popping up one night, completely unable to sleep, though nothing could explain why. Eventually, I had no choice but the hold her and sing. It took nine songs to calm her down enough to put her back in her crib.
Though she is turning into a night owl on the edge of her adolescence, having to endure nine songs with me now would probably drive her to sleep… or at least pretend to. For me, being able to sing her nine songs at bedtime would be an incredible gift.
The one I choose tonight was one of the first I ever sang to her (with slight modifications to the lyrics).