Wednesday, September 20, 2006

lullabies and kittens

I woke up startled in the middle of the night, oh so long ago. 4 years ago, and to a wailing baby. I gathered her in my arms and hummed, rocking her back and forth, willing the gods to provide the lyrics to a lullaby. Any lullaby. Suddenly the words to "You are My Sunshine" popped into my head. I began to croon softly, shaky in my newfound role as Mommy. I sang it every time she moved, whimpered, and flopped over on her belly. We made it through colic this way. It became a nighttime classic. I never intended for the song most people despise to be 'Our' song. I could just never think of a different goddamn song.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine/
you make me happy when skies are gray/

you'll never know dear, how much I love you/
please don't take my sunshine away.

About a year ago, Julia requested that I not sing that song anymore. She wanted "Skina-ma-rink" or Ol'ma-Tunnels (Old McDonald had a Farm), "Six Little Ducks" or "The Alphabet Song". I have to admit, it broke my heart a little to witness her maturing and asserting her independence. Not a lot, just enough to wish that she would once again ask me to sing it; it had become my personal proof that I was successful at the Mommy thing. I knew that that song could reassure even the darkest night and calm would be restored.

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping/
I dreampt I held you in my arms/
when I awoke dear, I was mistaken/
and I hung my head and I cried.

She asked me to sing to her tonight, when I checked in on her. She wasn't sleeping but instead had her head buried under her pillow and was sobbing. I gathered her in my arms and asked her why she was crying. She hiccuped that, "[She] really wanted to keep the kitty that we found." (Oh, yeah. She found a kitty tonight, sopping wet in the pouring rain. We rescued it and played with it, and eventually found someone to take it. She was stoic, helpful, and unattached [or so I thought], but apparently, not so much.) And so her pain required 'Our' song.

I'll always love you, and make you happy/
though something else may come between/
now you've left me, to love another/
you have shattered surpassed all my dreams

Every day she grows more into a little person and resembles a baby less. She tries valiantly to be a big girl but some things are just too overwhelming; losing a kitty you had only just found is too too much. Even though she knows that "someday" we will definitely get a cat, today we had one and we had to give him away.

She wanted to call him Tiger.

1 comment:

Food Mum said...

Lovely post, I could feel a little tug at teh heart strings from here.