Singing lullabies to young children seems to be something hardwired into our brains. While I don’t have any specific memories of my own mother singing me to sleep, I do remember when my then-baby sister was moved out of her crib and into the king-sized bed with me and my middle sister that I would sing her to sleep. That continued until I moved off to college eight years later. I also did a lot of babysitting during my teen years, and again found a song to be a good way to calm a fussy child. Years later, when I had my own children, it became a much-looked-forward-to part of the good night ritual to sing each of them their own song at night when I tucked them into bed.
But I rarely used conventional lullabies. Our repertoire included silly children’s songs (Little Bunny Foo Foo, The Ants Go Marching), show tunes (Songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella were a hit with my kids as was The Ugly Duckling from Hans Christian Anderson), church hymns and even Christmas carols.
What brought this subject to mind today is a scene I was writing in my current work in progress. It’s a historical set in 1893 Texas. My hero, a small town lawman, is in the middle of nowhere watching over a sick little girl while he waits for help (in the form of our heroine, natch). The child is fretful and he’s not used to being around kids so he’s feeling a bit desperate. The he remembers a lullaby his mother used to sing to him when he was little and begins to sing it to her.
At first I tried to do a bit of research into what sort of lullabies would have been popular in this time period. Then I decided I’d have the song be one his mother made up, which gave me freedom to make up the words myself. I actually had a lot of fun working on this. I hope you’ll like what I came up with, assuming it makes the final cut .
So what about you? Do you have a favorite lullaby? Or perhaps special memories associated with lullabies?