A few months after I started dating the woman I would eventually marry, we made a visit to Boston over President’s Day weekend. One evening, we had dinner at the home of her long time family friends, which was a not so subtle vetting to make sure I was up to snuff. Fortunately, I was found worthy and found myself back again on President’s Day several years in a row.
In those first few years, we played a game of imaging a dream house, where money was no object, and everyone would design their own rooms. Back in our early twenties, we had wild ideas, including heated floors and oversized hot water heaters. A few years later, we were married, and President’s Day became a yearly tradition.
We just celebrated our 21st anniversary President’s Day dinner with these same friends, and I found myself remarking on how how far we had come. We were now joined by our two children, Ayelet age 8 and Rafael age 5. Also, we were describing a potential addition we are designing for our house, though one much more modest than any of the fantasies of our youth. Overall, many of the visions of our future as young newlyweds were coming to pass.
Ayelet was curious about the game I was describing of the fantasy house and wanted to try designing her own. We asked her about what would be in her bedroom, and what things might help her fall asleep.
She immediately responded, “A recording of Daddy singing my bedtime song, and a recording of Ima (hebrew for ‘mother’) singing the song her daddy sang to her at bedtime.”
My heart jumped into my throat. For years, I would sing the same Regina Spektor song to Ayelet, and Rafael had a special song I would sing by Vienna Teng. As the kids have gotten older, these songs have faded away and are hardly ever sung. She didn’t want recordings of the songs… she wanted recordings of us singing them.
There is nothing quite as special as holding a little baby in your arms and singing a favorite song as he or she falls asleep. Repeated night after night, it becomes a treasured memory of your time with your baby when a soothing voice and gentle bounce of the knees could make everything okay.
Thinking back now, I wish I had recorded myself singing those songs. It would be a wonderful gift to be able to give them when they are grown and have children of their own. I still remember the words and will go ahead and record them, but it’s not the same now that the kids are older.
So, parents whose children are still young enough to listen to the same lullaby, take advantage. Smart phones have an easy recording function… capture that memory and save it. Right now, it may feel silly, but in a few decades it will be a treasure.