Everyone is asleep in the house now. The dog is sacked out at the foot of our bed and even the baby went down easily. I can’t even hear my visiting parents talking politics downstairs. The house is quiet except for the music slowly tumbling out of my computer. It is a playlist I made for our bedtime routine; languorous bluegrass and folk, sweet and melancholy melodies anchored with strong, soothing harmonies.
That playlist started out with just one artist. “…And so I’ll sing that yellow birds’ song, the troubled times will soon be gone”…the closing words of Acony Bell by Gillian Welch with Dave Rawlings, a vocal pairing that feels like a warm woolen blanket. These words have been guiding Amelia into sleep for many months, sometimes gracefully and sometimes just hopefully. Of the many methods used to get the child to sleep – a monumental task at times – music is at the heart of the operation and Gillian Welch has been our go-to gal. I have learned first hand how different each baby is and the unique traits and personalities they exhibit even from day one. An appreciation for bluegrass and Ms. Welch in particular has apparently taken hold, much to the delight and relief of this new mother. Lest you think I am neglecting my motherly duties of singing my child to sleep, rest assured that happens as well and will certainly be the subject of another post. It’s just that when a parent catches a glimpse of the thing that will settle her ever curious and busy child, we grab on tight to that source of calm and don’t let go.
So now, almost every night after various bedtime activities (washing dirt off knees, “brushing” of teeth, etc.,) we sit in her darkened bedroom and listen to beautiful music. Nancy Griffith, James Taylor, and Lyle Lovett, among others, have joined the playlist, and the good nights outnumber the battles.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps”. That is the incessant advice from everyone, but in truth, I cherish this time alone. This is the time I get to sit quietly and do whatever I want or do nothing at all. Tonight was the night I finally decided to start this blog. Many who know me know well my obsession with music. It has permeated every part of my life, has brought me immeasurable joy and seen me through some of my most difficult times. We all have so many hopes and expectations for our children and I am no different. My wish for my daughter is a life filled with music. All kinds of music; to play, to sing with, to dance to, to scream at, and to love. And as we mark 14 months of her life with us today, I know she is well on her way.