My sister has experience. She also writes. She also has kids. Older ones. Here’s a snippet from her perspective…
As parents, it should be a top priority to always show our children love – perhaps even at the most difficult and trying times. Perhaps even at times where we want to jump ship, slap them across the face, or even turn our backs on them and let them fall. I have found that if I can muster up the calm, breathe through the crisis, and show unconditional love to my children when I want to run away and give up – those are the most precious parenting moments of all. The reward is priceless.
When my children were young, I always sang to them as they fell asleep. These silent moments were perhaps the most touching for me as my kids were growing up. They were quiet, peaceful, and you, the singing, exhausted mother, could relish the feeling of being able to soothe any pain, calm any fears in your children – and watch their tender souls fall into a peaceful slumber. Each of my three children had special songs they requested, and I created different lullabies for each of them. My daughter, Kate, always loved me to sing her the song from Little Mermaid as well as a song called “My name is Michael, I got a nickel…”. Kate was always my most challenging child, so singing her to sleep held an extra special meaning in our mother/daughter relationship. Today she is a twenty year old young lady struggling to find her way in the world.
The other night, after hours of drama, turmoil and anger, Kate (after some coaxing from her concerned mother) came home to sleep at our home, the home she grew up at. She was completely distraught over boyfriend issues, drama, and was struggling with some intense emotional depression. Without going into detail, these problems were very big, very real, and very serious… the type of problems parents lose sleep over. At any rate, I curled up in her old bed with her, spooning her and talking about the dilemma and how she might be able to deal with the situation at hand. She was lost in her twenty something world, unsure of where to turn, how to “fix’ the problem. So when she asked me to tuck her in, I was tickled pink to fill the role. She is my least likely child to admit she needs or wants help; her stubbornness and strong will often get the best of her.
Needless to say, I was deeply touched when she asked me to please sing “Mermaid” and rub her head like I used to while she fell asleep. I was breathless, smiled, and my eyes began to tear up. A minute later, I began to gently caress her head and sing her our song. Was this the dramatic out of control daughter just an hour earlier spewing anger at me? And as I finished the song, she gently said, “Can you also sing that other song – “I Got a pickle”?
“I Got A Pickle?” I asked, completely stumped.
“Yeah, mom – you know – that song ‘I Got A Pickle’! You used to sing it all the time…”
I lay there behind her…still caressing her temples and stroking her hair. I searched my memory bank for at least a good minute in silence… and then it hit me. Oh my God, “Kate… you mean, ‘My name is Michael, I got a nickel’?” I had to chuckle to myself… and I had an overwhelming feeling of warmth in the depth of my mommy soul. She remembered. She remembered a stupid little song I used to randomly sing to her as a child. In the midst of her week of complete hell and torment…all she wanted for comfort was her mom to sing her this silly song… the one she called “I got a pickle”. Too cute. I guess those endearing, tender moments you give your children really do matter, even in the face of adversity and angst… a hard core, troubled, rebellious 20 year old child just really needs a lullaby and her mother’s arms around her to feel secure.