A memory from when the kids were small

My blogging friend Erika prompted a great memory with her Song of the Day post. This morning’s entry is “You are so Beautiful” sung wonderfully by Joe Cocker. A link is provided below. While this song was likely intended for romantic love, it works quite well for all kinds of love, in particularly the love of a parent for a child.

Although my kids are in college or just graduated now, I have the memory today of singing to them softly while I rocked them to sleep as babies. This was one of the songs that I sang. Definitely not being known as a singer, I sang a repertoire of songs that I knew the words to as well as could be sung softly. So, the ACDC and Deep Purple songs did not qualify, although Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” works well until the final verse.

My wife and I bought one of those glider chairs that we put in the nursery. That was one comfortable chair. In that chair, I sang a number of songs, based on how quickly the kids would nod off and were certain to stay that way. My list varied for my own sanity, but would include songs from artists like Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Loggins and Messina, The Beatles, Bread, Harry Chapin and others that popped into my head or that I may have heard on the radio.

Invariably, I would include Joe Cocker’s song, as it had great meaning. But, Jim Croce’s “Time in Bottle” and “Photographs and Memories” were frequently sung. David Gates of Bread would appear with “If” or “Diary,” and Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” served as a reminder to not forget what is important. The Beatles would often be included as their own evening of song drawing from “Yesterday,” “Something,” “Norwegian Wood,” and many others.

John Denver would sing through my voice “Follow Me” or “Take me Home, Country Roads,” while Gordon Lightfoot might pop in with “If you could read my Mind” or “Carefree Highway.” Loggins and Messina might be there to with Anne Murray’s “Danny Song” or “House on Pooh Corner.” And, Peter, Paul and Mary would show up with Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” or Pete Seeger’s “Where have all the Flowers Gone?”

I am evidence that you need to not sing well to entertain a sleepy child. The key is some semblance of a soft tune and words that soothe. These are moments I cherish. When we are driving with one of the kids to school and one of these songs would come on the radio, if I was melancholy, I would tell the rider that I sang this to them when they were little. They are the best of memories and I cannot wait to rock a future grandchild to sleep.


16 thoughts on “A memory from when the kids were small

  1. Hey, I am so happy I inspired you to that post! That’s awesome, Keith! Thank you for the mention. Did you ever record something? I would love to hear you. I have a page where I post guest songs!

    • Emily, those are soothing as well. I would throw in “Amazing Grace” and “Just as I am” every once in awhile. Also, you reminded me that I would do some Cat Stevens’ songs like “Morning has Broken.” Thanks, Keith

  2. You have quite a songbook, Mr. Keith. I’m sure they were very soothing to your kids, and I still am moved whenever I hear most any one of the songs you mention.

  3. Note to Readers: I mentioned taking the kids to school as I headed off to work. They would ride the bus home, but the time together in the morning was a treasure. We would often discuss the songs and what some lyrics meant. It was nice to tie them back to the ones I sang for them. I left off one of my favorite Jim Croce songs called “Lover’s Cross” where one lover has grown weary of being the martyr in the relationship. This song is a great example of what do the lyrics mean and provides a forum for a life discussion.

      • They bring back the happy memories even if they weren’t happy back then. Like the family piled in the car and the music playing as I soaked because I had to leave my friends to spend time with family. Funny this weekend the older members of the family are getting together and we are all so excited. It’s been a few decades since some of us seen each other.

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