Saturday, May 12, 2012

Song for a fifth child

Okay, I didn't plan on doing another posting on the amazing Listen to Your Mother Show that I was part of last Thursday (I've already blogged about it twice), but a little discovery prompted this post.

I'm still a little in awe at the whole thing. I'm so honored to have been included in it. I was nervous, but I wasn't. I felt a little inferior with all these other skinny, gorgeous mothers seated near me, but as it got closer to go-time for me, I thought "I got this." And everyone in the group is so warm and friendly and welcoming.

It was so much more fun reading it to an audience than reading it to myself or even reading it at my audition. This time there were these sounds -- this feedback and interaction -- and it was thrilling.

Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso, Indiana. Photo by Stephanie Precourt.

As I was introduced, Stephanie mentioned that I was the mother of five boys. From the audience I heard sighs. I'd like to think they were sighs of sympathy or admiration. Maybe they were more like gasps of disbelief accompanied by head-shaking and eye rolling. :) Whatever it was, it fueled me to get up there and confidently read my piece.

At one point, I sang a couple lines. And there was more audience feedback. I heard sort of an "Awww..." in unison as I finished up.

I fretted over that singing bit. I can't sing. I know I can't. But that was kind of the point of that portion of the story - to sing to your kids no matter how awful you sound. I know I sound way more like Edith Bunker than Adele. My kids know it, too, and they remind me quite often (well, not that they have any idea who Edith Bunker is, but they KNOW I sound nothing like Adele.)

I won't share the entire piece as the video of the show will be coming in the near future, but the part I sang was this:

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow
For children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow 
So, quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep 
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep

Does it sound familiar? My mom used to sing that to us when we were little. It was on a plaque she had hanging in our house and she had a little melody that went with it. And it's one of my favorite childhood memories - mom in her chair, me in her lap, her signing those words.

I just decided to take a look for the author. I don't know why I didn't look further before. I have the full poem printed and taped by my computer, but it says "Author Unknown" at the end. Guess what I discovered, thanks to Google?

The poem was written by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton. It was published in 1958 in Ladies' Home Journal. And guess what the title was? It WASN'T "Babies Don't Keep!"

It was "Song For a Fifth Child." Could it have been any more appropriate for me -- a mom of five boys -- to be reading, I mean, singing that at Listen To Your Mother???

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