I became a mother on April 14, 2016. In truth I had been one through the whole pregnancy, in all its brevity. But on that day, I held the tiny bodies of my first son and my daughter. And in a low, rattling voice I sang their lullaby to them.
The first time I heard the words of the Dixie Chicks’ “Lullaby,” I knew that I would sing it to my future children. I imagined playfully asking them, “how long do you want to be loved little one?” and them answering “forever is enough mama,” because they’d have the words engrained on their heart. I held on to this song through our infertility struggle, knowing that one day it would be for my babies. One day the babies would be mine.
When we fell pregnant with the twins everything felt right in the world. And I sang that song to my queasy, uneasy belly through the first trimester and part way through the second … until I held them in my arms.
As the words poured over them I knew that they would forever be theirs. “Is forever enough? Because I’m never, never giving you up.” It’s been two years since I could hold them and I still love them with forever strength, always will.
When we became pregnant with their brother things didn’t feel totally right with the world. In fact, the world felt scary and uncertain and somehow still hopeful. The confusion in a pregnancy after loss is unparalleled. I knew that this little boy and I needed to find our song. We needed a song that I could sing him in the wee hours of the morning, a lullaby that would somehow soothe us both, and a melody that could carry the same depth of love as the twins’ lullaby did.
I don’t quite have the creativity to write songs so I set out to find our song by creating a baby play list. First, I added the Dixie Chicks’ “Lullaby” as well as “Hands Down” by The Greeting Committee. These were both songs I played for the twins while pregnant so it felt right to share. Then I added, “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses. The ballad may be about a break up but for me the lyrics described how, despite being broken hearted, I still would love this little boy with everything in me, more than anyone else could love him. I also quickly added “Your Song” by Elton John. Not only did the title fit this journey, but every time I would sing the verse “I hope it’s okay that I put down in words how wonderful life is now that you’re in this world,” I would feel hope.
These songs were perfect, but not quite our lullaby. So, I also added “How Long Will I Love You,” from the soundtrack About Time (not the Ellie Goulding version although that is sweet, too). I ended up using that jaunty Irish love song as the background to our maternity photo shoot. Oh an it’s true, I will love him as long “as there are stars above” him and “longer if I may.” Then I found “I’ll Let You Go” by Jessica Allosery, and one day I hope to dance with him at his wedding to this song. But still none were yet our lullaby.
Then I stumbled upon it, through YouTube queries and teary eyes, I found an unrecorded lullaby by Kimye Dawson (of the Moldy Peaches but more familiar to me as the lady who sang most of the Juno soundtrack). And it was perfect. The lyrics sat on my heart like a love note I wanted my son to know. The words talked about him being his own person and that I hoped he’d be gentle, compassionate and free. They told him to go on adventures, and rest, and feel all the things life has to feel. They said over and over “you’ll always be my baby.” And it’s true, whether I’m old or go crazy nothing will change the fact that he’s my baby and “no matter what I’ll always love you unconditionally.”
This song has gotten us through newborn sleep struggles and bedtime routines and sleep regressions and nap time breastfeeds. The words now just float from my mouth without thought and even though we didn’t write them, and I don’t have a singers voice, this is our song. I hope the words embed in his heart and settle like anchors for when times of anxiety or heartache or loss hit. I hope they whisper in the back of his mind during triumph. And I hope that my voice singing these things both calms and encourages him.
Sometimes, when we’ve rocked back and forth to our song once or twice, I’ll quietly hum or sing “How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough, is forever enough? How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough? Cause I’m never, never giving you up.” And the words wrap around him then drift above his head and reach the stars, because that song is for all my babies. All of them, forever.
What song do you sing to (or reminds you of) your babies, those here or far or both?