For those of you who are interested in Luis, the Rotary Gift of Life baby we’re hosting this week, here’s an update. And, because I’m me, a story to go with it.
His heart surgery was a week ago. They found two defects instead of one, landing him in the Pediatric ICU at MUSC for three days. His mom, Meredith, stayed with him at the hospital until he was discharged on Sunday. His home for the next week will be our freezing old house that has been taken over by baby paraphernalia. Seriously, I never knew babies needed so much stuff.
What is bizarre is that I seem to be the only person who can get him to sleep.
Perhaps I had a good teacher. I can remember being very tiny, and my Mom would rock me to sleep in a creaky antique rocking chair. She would hold me close, rub my eyelids and sing the song “Pennies from Heaven” to me.
I’m sure she sang others, but that’s the one I remember. The words to that song must’ve been burned into my brain as an infant. I can still croon every last one of them today.
And, I have, with the few babies I’ve been fortunate enough to keep over the years. My niece, Molly, loved that song so much as a baby that she would wave her hand at me for more when I stopped singing it to her. My ‘may-as-well-be’ niece Cayleigh loved it, too, snuggling up for a one-song-on-repeat set before bedtime, stubbornly refusing to nod off until I’d sung it at least three times in a row.
And now, Luis is a Pennies addict. While I tried a couple of songs from my limited child tune repertoire, “Pennies from Heaven” was the only song that worked.
It’s a tough song for me to sing. Not technically, but emotionally. More than any other song I know, that one reminds me of my gorgeous, young mother, pouring herself into me, her firstborn. For the rest of my life, if I need to recall my mother’s voice, I will hear that song in my head, her impeccable rendition calling down through the tunnel of time.
Every time I sing it, I almost cry. Always, I think of my Mom and see her rubbing my eyelids, serenading me to sleep.