What’s in a Lullaby?

We have a sleep routine for all of our kids. When they are babies, we “set the stage for sleep success” by swaddling them, darkening the room, and turning on a fan for white noise. Growing up both of my parents always had a special song they sang to me when tucking me in at night. When Kye was born, I wanted to continue on that tradition and have a special song to sing to him. As a baby, I will sing the song during the time that I am swaddling them and getting their room ready for sleep time. Once they are older, I sing my song to them as I tuck them in for sleep. 

I am not a great singer. At all. I was actually in chorus all through middle school and won the award for “best diction.” Since I couldn’t sing I would participate by making the letter sounds that often aren’t pronounced clearly enough during choral performances. The “d,” “t,” “ch,” etc were all clearer thanks to me and my mad diction skills haha! 

Neither of my parents are too great at singing either (guess I get it natural!). My mom has a similar voice to mine, it’s low and we have a hard time coming close to hitting any high notes. And my dad may be Elvis, but he can’t quite sing like him! As a child though…you don’t know if your parents are stellar performers or not. The sound of their voice brings comfort and joy. I have such wonderful memories as a girl hearing my parents sing to me.

My mom’s song to me was “You Are My Sunshine” she edited it a bit though and would sing “You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know Emily how much Mommy loves you. So please don’t take (then she’d snap twice) my sunshine away.” 

My dad’s song was one he enjoyed and he wrote down the words to it on a piece of paper and had it hanging in my room. I still have that paper and it’s so special to me! The song he sang to me was “Endless Sleep” by Jody Reynolds. Evening listening to it now on YouTube…I totally think my dad sings it better than the legit artist haha! But if you do listen to it (you can here!) you will notice the lyrics aren’t exactly appropriate for a lullaby…yes the topic is attempted suicide! Of course I had no clue about the content until I was much older! I’m not exactly sure why Dad picked this song to sing to me?!?! At least the ending is happy ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

When Kye was born I had a hard time deciding on what would be “our song.” I had to find something easy to remember, easy for me to sing, and short enough to be done at bedtime. I was up late one night feeding him and watching movies on TV to help me stay awake. The movie 28 Days was playing (not 28 Days Later…but 28 Days…the Sandra Bullock movie about rehab…) and at the end of the movie when the credits rolled it played “Lean on Me.” It got stuck in my head and I realized it would make a great lullaby! Very easy words to remember, easy for my low voice to sing, short, and a nice message ๐Ÿ™‚ So that’s our song. Even at five years old every time I tuck him in I sing it to him. He loves for me to scratch his back while I sing it. I think I enjoy that time more than he does but it’s something I hope he won’t become “too big” for anytime soon!

Even before having Britt I knew whenever I had a daughter that I wanted my song with her to be “You are my Sunshine.” I started singing it to her as soon as she was born and continue to sing it to her at each nap and bedtime. She isn’t as into the back scratching as Kye is, she loves for me to “cuddle with her” which is her way of saying touch her face a lot and let her love on me. She’s my physical touch child for sure and I may sometimes sing it twice just because I don’t want to stop cuddling ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Zach also has a song with Britt. I guess it’d be weird for him to sing to his son? I dunno? I don’t remember if my parents sang to my brother or not? Zach’s dad has always loved The Temptations and Zach grew up hearing their music so, naturally, he chose “My Girl” as his song to sing to her. He doesn’t sing it super often, as I tend to be the last one to tuck her in ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m kinda a cuddle hog! I think it’s sweet that he has this special song with her and I can picture them dancing to it together at her wedding someday!

Prior to Tess being born I tried to think about what song I’d sing. Our family loves The Lumineers song “Hey Ho” and also Phillip Phillips “Home.” I was debating between the two of them as I love the chorus of both songs and think they’d fit nicely for a lullaby. Once Tess arrived, however, I didn’t really think either song fit. I had a tough time deciding on a song for her. Britt’s song makes me think of my mom every time I sing it to her and brings back those memories of her singing it to me. I liked the idea of choosing a song that would make me think of my dad when I sing it to Tess. I, for obvious content reasons, couldn’t use the song he sang to me. But I could use one that I knew he loved. 

My dad always listened to oldies songs in the car whenever we were with him. He especially LOVES Elvis. I think I know every Elvis song by heart and can tell you all sorts of random Elvis facts. I mean visiting Graceland was totally on my bucket list, remember? When I got on the Elvis idea the first song that popped in my head was “Love Me Tender.” It’s a very sweet song and can easily be about a parent-child relationship. I actually surprised my dad on my wedding day and had it as the song we danced to together!

It is a SUPER easy song for me to sing and one I never get tired of singing. I pretty much have it in my head all day, everyday right now since Tess sleeps so often! I love reflecting back on my wedding day when I sing it and especially on my relationship with my dad. It’s a special song and I hope it’s always meaningful to Tess as well ๐Ÿ™‚

For Zach’s song he had already decided prior to Tess being born that he wanted to have it be “Never Grow Up” by Taylor Swift. Rachael actually told me about the song when I was making Britt’s first birthday slideshow and I LOVED it. We have it on the kids playlist in the car and we all sing it all the time and it was a natural song for Zach to choose for his second baby girl! 

I love our tradition of picking a special lullaby for each of our children! I’d love to hear what songs you sing with your kids? Why are they meaningful to you? 

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