Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Singing Them for Comfort

I'm particularly fond of her wee crossed feet.
Henrietta is teething. There have been indications of teething for months, but now we're into some pretty fussy territory. I'm not sure that what we did Sunday night could be categorized as sleeping, and last night wasn't much better. She's quicker to cry in general, and by afternoon she's pretty much spent, which she expresses by screaming. I realize we're lucky that this is fairly unusual behavior.

Tonight as I was trying to get her sleep, I sang to her, and I realized how grateful I am to have a repertoire of songs from my Mormon upbringing. I make up a lot of songs during the day, inserting her name here and there, rhyming sweet with feet, that sort of thing. (Sam has a killer song about her comfort rabbit, Elroy. I need to get him to record it for me.) But when she's upset, when she needs the big guns, I go for the hymns. I often sing her "Come, Come, Ye Saints" (which Sam also requests when upset). I sing her "How Firm a Foundation" and "Nearer, My God, to Thee" and "I Am a Child of God" and "A Child's Prayer" and "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Lead, Kindly Light" and "Be Still, My Soul."

Tonight as I sang, she looked up at me in the dark, finally finally calm, after a little help from Children's Ibuprofen. And she just watched me, eyes wide in the dark as I sang and sang, and then hummed and hummed, and rocked her, and patted her backside, and wondered what on earth I would do without those songs in my head. They've comforted me and been a fixture of my faith for as long as I can remember, so it's meaningful to sing them to her. Sometimes I worry what I'll be able to pass onto her, faith-wise, but when I'm singing those songs, I feel pleased that I'm beginning in a place that feels absolutely authentic to me. At least she'll have some vague recollection of those tunes and words, and a legacy of singing them for comfort.

6 comments:

Amalie said...

yes I love how you ended. She will have that recollection. Madalynn could sing my favorites by the time she started talking at 15 months old and she asks for specific songs now. As I have learned when she asks for specific songs I realize that while she is just shy of three she is starting to understand the words and their meaning and knows what she wants to hear as she is going to bed or having a rough moment. After all those hours singing to her and reviewing the meaning of the songs and my beliefs in the messages of those songs I realized how easy it was to share to share my beliefs with anyone through a simple song that calms and edifies the soul.

belann said...

I'm wondering if you remember me singing those same songs so long ago... Cherish these moments.

lgandrews said...

I too have done this with so many babies; none of them mine. Some being raised in LDS homes, many, not. I wonder what they may remember, if they will ever recall these tunes, messages. The experiences have always been precious to me. Perhaps because I am not a mother, I feel so blessed to have these precious times to not only soothe the babes, but also myself, while giving the moms some "down-time". Having the songs of being brought up in the LDS church is the most valuable heritage I have from the Church!! Without a doubt, it has been my bedrock for peace, faith, and testimony. Thanks for sharing your reflections with HP! I love reading your insights and thoughts. Edification from a soul-sister on a regular basis. What a daily delight!!

Deja said...

Thanks, Linda! I'm sure the babies of the world are grateful you've loved them so well, and I love that idea, that it calms and soothes the singer as much as those sung to. Glad you're reading and enjoying.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Those are some great songs. I love hearing my kids sing the songs I've been singing to them for years, now that they are getting older.

Amara said...

I think about what Jeffrey Holland said today: it's just as honest and courageous to declare the faith that you do have first, don't lead with the doubt!
.Thanks for celebrating some of that faith here.