Singing My Kids to Sleep Last Night

BEATLES ABBEY ROAD album cover from October 1969 Courtesy EMI AppleI’ve written before about how I would sing to my children when they were little ones, how we’d lay in bed together and I’d whet their musical appetites for The Beatles and various other older music by going through my repertoire as a way to get them to calm down, slow down, and drift off.

As they’ve gotten older, however, singing has taken a back seat to “going to bed like a big kid” which has typically meant that they read, then we light a candle and I say “good night” and walk out. More efficient but less sweet and I’m occasionally nostalgic for those bedtime rituals.

Which is why last night was rather a surprise. My little one, K-, asked me to sing a song to her at bed time instead of my usual storytelling (we have a running joke about stories about tiny creatures: “short” bedtime stories). Nice.

When my older two went to bed, (A- is now 15 and G- is 12) they asked me to sing to them too, so I did.

First song was one I’ve sung to them innumerable times throughout their childhood: “When You Wish Upon a Star”. I sing it more slowly than Jiminy Cricket does in Pinocchio, in case you’re curious, and with a bit less warble than Cliff Edwards.

But they weren’t done with that. “Can you sing some Beatles too?”

So I sang “Golden Slumbers” and ended with “Her Majesty”. I particularly like both the melodic line of Golden Slumbers “fill your eyes, smiles awake you when you rise” but it also naturally transitions through “Carry That Weight” to “The End”, which has the great couplet:

“And in the end,
The love you take,
Is equal to the love you make.”

That then ends, as does the terrific album Abbey Road, with “Her Majesty”.

Even then they asked for an encore, so I did my curtain call 🙂 with a sweet Dan Fogelberg song: “Stars”.

It goes like this:

“Stood out in the rain,
Let it soak me down,
Before I called you… I called you.
Didn’t see me there,
Hidden by the rain beneath your window… but I saw you.
Putting on your face before the mirror on the wall,
Dreaming that the looking glass was me…
Catching your fondest gazes,
Living through your fickle phases…I love you”

A lovely parenting moment that reminds me that even as they grow up, my young adult children are still little ones in their hearts…

2 comments on “Singing My Kids to Sleep Last Night

  1. mmm, nice idea. I use all the songs from Yellow Submarine, the best being Yellow Submarine of course, because many have nice melodies and easy texts, besides Eleanor Rigby, sad, and Lucy in the Sky, difficult text, cough. I find my 4 year old humming “when Im 64”. But maybe Abbey road second side is better.

  2. Never realized the power and importance of bedtime rituals until my children each were old enough to appreciate story time. While my voice prevents me from singing my kids to bed on a regular basis – they may dial up child protective services – the intimate nature of song is a wonderful way to connect with your kiddies.

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