Growing up there was an album of children’s stories that I just could not get enough of – Tommy Sands Down By Bendy’s Lane. I forget just where or when my brother had purchased it, but I listened to it at every opportunity and had even borrowed the CD so as to record it on a cassette tape. It became somewhat of a bedtime ritual for many years and always helped to calm me after a rough day.
The first night that my daughter was home from the hospital I sang to her a song from this album; Night night and Einini. Yes, she continued to cry long into the night as newborns do. But as a new father, I was determined to make a good impression. This seemed a good place to start. I have for many nights since that first, sung that same song to her. Cradling her in my arms. Kneeling by her crib. Walking around the house carrying her as she fights the urge to sleep. Tonight I was compelled to sing it again.
Whether it had been a difficult day of day-care, or perhaps because she sensed how stressed my wife and I are, she was having a rough night and made it quite clear that she was ready for her day to be done. I drew her a bath in hopes that it might soothe her.(extra bubbles of course!) No such luck. We would forgo the bath and get right into pyjamas. The tears continued as I attempted to put her down in the crib and it occurred to me that while she was tired she may just want to be held. So we sat down on her bright pink futon, collected the ‘necessary’ cuddle companions – two sock monkeys, an elephant, a baby doll, and a giant pink horse – and settled in. For a moment I just held her…then began to hum the song. A few minutes later I felt her start to relax and began to sing. After about twenty minutes I realised that she had fallen asleep and that she had wrapped her little hand around my finger. I continued to sing for a few more minutes, calm and happy in the moment that I was sharing with my little love. I will never forget that… nor the way that song now pulls at my heart strings.