Singing a lullaby–this act is a ritual, a staple in our bedtime routine for our daughters. At the fringe of bedtime, I am responsible for the soft whispering hums of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and You Are My Sunshine…
Most nights, I’m tired as I sit upon the edge of their beds. After a long day of mothering four daughters, closing with bathing, slathering them in lotion, brushing teeth (and flossing, if their dentist reads this), picking out pajamas, putting on pajamas, fulfilling last-minute requests (I need a drink, I need my folder signed, I need, I need, I need…) I feel the weight of the day heavy upon my shoulders. Lethargy spreads from my mind, trickling down my body. And I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t tried to weasel out of ‘singing’ several times.
Last night we had company over for dinner. By the time our hosting duties wrapped, the girls’ bedtime extended further into the night than our normal routine and I was enveloped in exhaustion.
I found myself rushing, while a slew of ramblings flew out of my mouth. (get into bed, come on…yes, it’s bedtime)
I was chasing, trying to run down the elusive me-time; the hour(s) I have to myself after all the beauties are tucked in, safe in their beds.
“Mommy, you have to sing.” Adalynne stated, reaffirming my nightly duty. Every part of me longed to proclaim, “It’s late. Mama will sing tomorrow, you have to go to sleep. You have school in the morning..” But for some reason, I couldn’t.
Pushing myself to achieve their normal, regardless of the time or my tiredness, I sang their lullabies.
Nearing the end of the final verse, my eyes filled with the scene of my oldest daughter’s lip trembling. Her eyes began to glisten and her chin wobbled.
Silently, she was doing her best to hold back a sob.
“What’s wrong?” I questioned her, alarmed.
“I was just thinking…of the day,” She hiccups through tears now streaming down her face. I can see where this is heading. “When you won’t sing us songs anymore. When we grow up.” She finishes, stunning me.
Every part of me crumbles. She will be ten in a week; the brutal, stark light of this world is starting to leak through the hairline cracks forming in the door of her childhood.
I reached over and hugged her, stroking her hair. My face now mirrors hers as I whisper, “Children never grow up in the eyes of their parents. I will always sing to you.”
She isn’t able to see yet, but one day–closer than I want to admit–she won’t need me to sing to her. She will willingly walk out of Neverland.
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” –Graham Greene
But until that time comes, I’m reminded to not let my tiredness jiggle that door knob, or race after that day.