I settled into the rocking chair and snuggled that precious boy into the crook of my arm. It was bedtime for Ivan and it was his Queenie/grandmother/babysitter’s duty to put him to sleep. Before my daughter left her infant son alone with this first-time grandparent, Hilary wrote down Ivan’s schedule in detail.
I was right on time.
Rocking in the glow of a nightlight, I remembered the days when my three babies were babies and I rocked them when they were fussy or feverish or fearful of a summer storm. Now, here I was rocking my daughter’s son like I would never let him go. The back- and-forth motion made Ivan’s eyelids widen and flutter and without thinking, I do for my grandson what I did for his mother more than a few years ago.
I started to sing.
Even though I am not a singer, I sang to my children when they were little; songs someone else sang to me. In time to the rhythm of the rocking chair, I sang Ivan one of my favorites, a song I sang to other babies before him. Slow and soft I started and Ivan stilled in my arms and I wondered.
Does anyone sing lullabies any more?
Growing up, I remember my mother’s voice floating up to the second floor where I slept. When she climbed the stairs to wake her six children, Mom sang a song she made up to the tune of a radio jingle. “Wake up pretties don’t you be such sleepy heads!” Like my mother, I made up my own wake-up call, singing a version of that same song each morning as I climbed the stairs where my own children were sleeping, my voice ever searching for the right key.
As I rocked and sang, Ivan held my finger. I know the words to “Little Brown Church in the Vale, Camptown Ladies, and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Then, I sang a few Beatles tunes and followed up with showtunes. When I got to the last verse of, They Call the Wind Mariah, Ivan closed his eyes, baby lashes feathering his sweet cheeks.
For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard