Recently, my beloved gifted me with Tracy Chapman’s greatest hits CD. Yes. A compact disc. I realize that shows my age and lack of technical prowess, but hey so does this blog and the artist selection.
As the youngsters say, whatevs.
I had been hankering for the album and he oh so thoughtfully ordered it for me so I could enjoy it on a recent road trip. I first heard Tracy Chapman in seventh grade. My older brother had her album and he would play it, along with other great music, on our morning drives to school.
In college, my roommate played this song for our brokenhearted suite mate (young love can be so sweet, and so sharp). Halfway into the song, our wounded friend burst into tears and said “How the hell is this song supposed to be helping?!” An anthem for those swimming in fresh heartbreak, “The Promise” is not. I still chuckle whenever I hear the song.
I give you that background simply to show
you my age that her music has been around my life for some time. And last Saturday, her music spoke to my most current life stage: motherhood.
It had been a rocky morning. Our five month old son refused to nap, our almost three-year old daughter didn’t feel well = cling to mommy like algae on a rock. And I was cranky. That wasn’t really anyone’s fault, but it happens.
So when hubs discovered we were out of a few essentials, I gladly volunteered to run to the store. I freely admit that any trip to a store sans little ones gets me giddy. Parents of small children everywhere understand this excitement and we’re not ashamed.
At the stoplight, a new-to-me song caught my attention and before the next stoplight, I was a blubbering mess.
Sweet and high at the break of dawn
Simple tune that you can hum along too
I remember there was a time
When I used to sing for you
The past tense of that last refrain….it caught my mama heart off guard. When I used to sing for you. I love to sing to my babies. My mom sang to me and I sing to them. To get them to sleep, to comfort their cries, to entertain them in the car and on long walks. I have songs specific to each child. Songs I played while pregnant that they recognized after birth. I sing those songs and others. I sing in the car and around the house. It’s about my children knowing, intimately, the joy of music and singing; the individual offering and the communal affirmation.
It’s not about having a great voice. It’s about them knowing my voice. To remember me. To hear a lullaby or a song and feel a familiar warmth, a sense of peace, belonging, love. Isn’t that what lullabies are all about?
One day, they won’t need me to sing their songs at bedtime. One day they’ll ask me to stop or maybe tell me I’m doing it wrong. But right now? Right now, it’s delicious and wonderful.
Soft and low
When the evening comes
Holding you sleeping in my arms
There was a time
When I used to sing for you
I am grateful for this time and the music that fills up our life. And for unexpected reminders.