William’s Lullabies

When Will was very little, he liked movement. I would pace the house with him every evening to calm him and get him to fall asleep. During those precious moments, I would sing to him. I sang whatever songs came to mind, and those songs have become his soundtrack. He reacts when he hears them because he has heard them since birth. I thought I would include a list of Will’s lullabies, and my favorite portions of them, the lyrics that are dear to my heart.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland

This was one of the first songs I ever sang to William.

Favorite lyric: “If happy little bluebirds fly above the rainbow, then why, why can’t I?” It just reminds me that I want Will to know he can do anything he puts his mind to as he grows up. This lyric was so special to me that I started calling Will my little bluebird, and I even got a tattoo in honor of him and his attachment to the song.

“When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss

I feel like Alison Krauss was never as “big” as she deserved to be. She has such a soothing, beautiful voice, and this was one of my favorite songs as a child. For some reason, this popped into my head when Will was only a few weeks old. To refresh my memory, I put the youtube video on and danced with Will to it, singing along.

Favorite lyric: “Old Mr. Webster could never define what’s being said between your heart and mine.” That lyric makes me cry to this day. There’s absolutely no way to put into words how a mother feels about her son.

“I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday

When my grandfather was alive, he loved to sing and dance. One of the songs of his “era” and a song he loved was “I’ll Be Seeing You.” When Bop died, I knew I wanted to get a tattoo in his honor. I wrote about him, thought about him, remembered times we shared together, and nothing fit. For the longest time, I toyed around with getting a shamrock because he was an O’Neill or getting an anchor because he served in the Navy. Still, it just didn’t fit. Then one day, I was talking to my mom, and the song came up. It just fit.

Favorite lyric: “And when the night is new, I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.” The lyrics are exactly what I feel about my grandfather, and it is a song he used to dance to. Now, I sing it to my son, to remind myself that no matter how far you are from the ones you hold most dear, you can see and feel them. And to remind my son that he comes from a long line of great men and someday, he’ll be just like them.

“My Love is Your Love” by Whitney Houston

When I used to sing to Will and began getting tired of repeating “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” I tried to think of songs mothers sang to their children. This song came to mind because the little child in the background says, “Sing Mommy” in the opening of the song. Hopefully, someday, William will utter those words to me.

Favorite lyric: “It’s okay as long as I got you, babe.” Self-explanatory.

“I Hope You Dance” by LeeAnn Womack

I don’t dance, but this song is such a precious wish from a mother to her child. Dance is a metaphor. She wants her daughter to literally dance when she has the opportunity. But it’s really about putting yourself out there. I want Will to have the fullness of life, to take chances, to know he is loved in every step he takes.

Favorite lyrics: “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, never settle for the path of least resistance. Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’ and lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’. Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter. When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.”

I think these lyrics means a lot to me because, well, they mean a lot to me. I don’t often take chances. I’ve spent a good deal of my life living in anxiety and fear. I don’t ever want Will to live that way. I don’t ever want him to hold onto bitterness. And I don’t ever, ever want him to give up.

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