Today was one of those days that just felt like it was going on and on and on and on and on...
My daughter, we'll call her S, woke up early this morning and was rarin' to go right away - no slow, cuddly Saturday morning for us this morning! She reminded me a bit of one of the characters from her favorite movie, Anna from Frozen (see the image and caption to the right!) - the sky was awake, so S was awake, and she needed to play!
We had a nice breakfast, and then the whole family went out to do some shopping at the outlets...completely forgetting that it's Veteran's Day weekend. The stores. were. packed. Trying to corral any 5 year old in that kind of craziness is a losing battle, and we definitely felt like we had fought (and lost) that battle by the time we headed home. We had a 45 min drive home, and I actually fell asleep in the car. My husband fell asleep on the couch for a bit after we arrived home. S just kept on going, as full of energy as she was when she woke up this morning. In some ways it was absolutely adorable. Watching her grab her grandmother's hand and try to give her toys to play with her, listening to all of her exclamations of happiness...but then there was also the constant walking away from us (and necessary redirection) while we were out, the fighting about going to the bathroom (because one does not just leave their toys to go the bathroom, don't you know that mommy?), the constant asking for snacks (despite having had plenty to eat already and it being almost dinner-time). By the time bedtime came around, I was beat, and I had half a mind to say to Daddy that he could put her to bed tonight. But as I sat in the rocking chair waiting for her to come back from the bathroom one last time, I realized that I'd really love to have her sleepy cuddles tonight if she'd slow down enough to cuddle.
When she came back, we shut off the light, and I started singing her "her" lullaby - "Su La Li" from Music Together®'s Maracas collection (her having a lullaby that's "hers" is rather new for us, but that's a whole different post!). When I sing it, I sing the first verse on the syllables from the collection. The second time I sing the lullaby on "I Love You" and the 3rd time I use her first and middle name. The final time, I hum the melody. Normally she doesn't fall asleep right away, and we cuddle for a bit before she really settles. Tonight, though, she was out like a light before I was even done with the verse I sing on her name!
I was really struck by that moment. I felt her body melt into mine as she slowly slipped off into dreamland. It's not the first night she's fallen asleep on me like that, but tonight it really reminded me how safe and happy she must feel in my arms to be able to fall asleep being held like that. Coming to that realization, in that moment, I then felt all the stress of my day melt away and just felt awestruck at the power that a simple lullaby held for both of us tonight. For her, the power to soothe and calm from a seemingly unending hectic day into deep sleep within just a few minutes. For me, the power to melt away the day's stress and appreciate that my 5 year old and I can still have moments like that together. The bond I felt with her as she snuggled into a deep sleep while I was singing was incredible. I know the day is soon coming when she won't be able to fit in my lap for stories or lullabies anymore, which makes moments like this even more precious to me.
I hope nobody reading this assumes that this is what nights are like at our house all the time - trust me, they aren't! Last weekend no amount of lullabies helped S go to sleep earlier than 11:30pm, and we had middle-of-the-night waking issues to deal with too. But, no matter how the night or day goes, lullabies are always a part of our routine and tonight's experience was the perfect reminder of the power they have for both S and for myself.
Does your family have a lullaby you call "yours"? Remember, any song can be a lullaby...it's more about how the song is sung than the song itself! Share your favorite lullaby in the comments!