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Sunday, September 26

This is a song... revisited

Speaking of songs and rocking chairs, I'm republishing one of my early posts when I started this blog about 5 years ago. It's one of my favorites, for someone very special ...

This is a song... can you hear me tonight?

(first published August 28, 2005)

My first grandchild... my sweet, sweet baby girl... will be twenty on her next birthday. Twenty... how can twenty years have passed when it was only yesterday that I held her in my arms, rocking and crooning her a lullaby as she drifted off to sleep?

We have a specialness, this child and I, one that began all those years ago and is bound tightly still by a rocking chair and a song. Her song... our song.

I first heard the song long before she was born, listening to the radio as I fell asleep each night. It was an instrumental tune, with a haunting, compelling melody -- one that I often found myself humming during the day. It remained in my consciousness for awhile, and then like most songs, quietly slipped into my mental jukebox, to be recalled every so often when something pushed that button.

Several years later, shortly after this beautiful child had entered my world, I was trying to comfort and quiet her little distressed self one night. I began to sing that particular song. Not with words, but in that humming, doo-do-do-doo way that we do when we don't know what the words are. She struggled mightily to keep her tiny, fluttering eyes open, but with every note, the rhythm and rocking won out, and she floated off to dreamland.

And so it began... a nightime ritual and a melody that endured thousands of miles and many months of separation. She was only a year old when she moved away to California. We saw one another a couple, three times a year those first few years, and more often the next few when she returned to Maryland. We talked on the phone a lot. Whenever we were together, we always had our special moments at bedtime -- talking and rocking and singing. Sometimes just riding in the car, a sleepy little girl would ask "sing me my doody-do song, Mommaw."

Time, distance, and life events couldn't begin to break the bond that had been formed, and even though she moved away again, our special times continued, lasting well into her teen years. Sometimes we'd lie on the floor in front of the stereo, listening and humming along to her song with the album I'd found. Sometimes I'd tease her and start singing during the day and because of it's Pavlovian effect, more often than not I'd hear "don't sing, Mommaw, you're making me sleepy!" When she became too big to rock, I sat on the side of her bed, stroking her head, holding her little hands, and doo-do-do-ing her song to quiet any hidden monsters and ease her to sleep.

I still have the rocking chair that she asked me to keep until she grew up, ready to pass on when she has her own place.* The album too. Several years ago, I made her a CD of me singing her song so she'd have it at bedtime whenever she wanted. As she's grown older, the song is still very much a part of "us" and sometimes, when I sense that she's troubled, I just hold her and sing her song. It still has that soothing effect for her.

She's going to be twenty in January, but she'll always be my sweet baby girl and I'll always have her... and her song... in my heart, ready to doo-do-do-doo in an instant's notice.

Oh, and the song? Not a traditional lullaby at all, but the warm and peaceful "Mull of Kintyre", an old Scottish bagpipe tune that Sir Paul McCartney put lyrics to in the late 70's. It went on to become the 4th top selling single of all time in the UK.

Mull of Kintyre
Words by McCartney-Laine
Album: Wings Greatest


Mull of Kintyre
Oh mist rolling in from the sea,
My desire is always to be here
Oh Mull of Kintyre.

Far have I travelled and much have I seen
Dark distant mountains with valleys of green.
Past painted deserts the sunset's on fire
As he carries me home to the Mull of Kintyre.


Sweep through the heather like deer in the glen
Carry me back to the days I knew then.
Nights when we sang like a heavenly choir
Of the life and the time of the Mull of Kintyre.


Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain
Still take me back where my memories remain
Flickering embers grow higher and higher
As they carry me back to the Mull of Kintyre.


*duly passed on... see previous post :-)

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At 9/26/2010 2:25 PM, Blogger Laurie said...

What a beautiful post Marianne, and such wonderful memories and traditions around that rocking chair. Thanks for running this post again, for those of us who missed it the first time. Beautiful!


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