Yesterday, Stacey wrote about singing lullabies to her daughter. Her post got me thinking about songs I sang to my kids, and songs from my own childhood. My boys are grown, but I have fond memories of the lullabies that were part of their bedtime routine.
When my children were babies, I sang to them all the time, and we quickly developed a bedtime playlist. And because we camped with my husband’s family quite often, my nieces loved these songs, too. In fact, Kelly asked me to sing them when we were all on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon when she was thirteen!
Not surprisingly, most of the songs I sang to them were ones I had loved as a child. My parents had different tastes in music, but there was no question that they both loved it. We had a small portable record player on a metal stand in the dining room, and on Saturday mornings, my mother played her Glenn Miller records while she cleaned. She listened to other big bands and singers from the forties, but Glenn was definitely her favorite. Soundtracks, especially “The Sound of Music,” also got played frequently. My father, on the other hand, was a country and western fan. I have a lot of Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves songs in my head. The songs my parents played throughout my childhood influenced my own musical tastes. I love harmonies and ballads, and never really loved rock.
Alzheimer patients can often remember songs from their youth better than the names of their grandchildren. Educators have know for years that music helps students memorize rote material. (Think Schoolhouse Rock) Sometimes, just the first few notes of a song transport us back to the time we first heard it. I remember when I first heard She & Him, tears came to my eyes. Their retro sound automatically brought me back to that sun-drenched dining room of the 60s, listening to that little blue record player.
I can’t remember when I stopped singing to my kids, and I could never choose just one song as my favorite. But, of all the songs my parents shared with me, and that I shared with my children, there is one that sums up my wish for them as they make their way in the world.
Thank you to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, and Beth for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each day during the month of March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.
(This slice is a modified version of a post from 2012. You can read the original here.)