For the past nine plus years, I’ve sung this song nearly every night.
I suppose I had an average affinity for it as a child. However, as a parent, Ernie’s sentimental ballad about wanting adventure minus the homesickness, instinctively became my go-to lullaby. I learned the words quickly, but would wind down into a hum after round twenty or so. Occasionally, I’d even put myself to sleep. By the time my son could talk, he’d snuggle up under the covers and whisper, “moon song!” as though perhaps I’d forgotten. Eventually, I tried new ones, but it always came back to Ernie.
Suddenly, one night as I started to sing, he clamped his hand over my mouth and demanded, “No song.”
It was a good four year run. Somewhat mournfully, I laid beside him silently until he fell asleep. (“Snuggle me. But don’t sing.” was the nightly request.)
Then my daughter was born. A person to sing to who couldn’t protest! Technology had advanced to the point that the lyrics to any song I could imagine were in my pocket. I’d nurse her for hours learning and expanding my repertoire. Despite the many numbers in rotation, “the moon song” stayed at the top of the charts.
Recently, one night, as I put both of them to bed, my son requested a song for the first time in years.
“Mom? Remember that song you used to sing sometimes about an airplane? Would you sing that?”
I tried to hide just how eager I was to fulfill this request as I quietly started in on John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jetplane”. By verse two, he slowly pulled the covers up almost over his face. Moments later, I heard a sniffle.
“Oh! Are you crying? I’m sorry!”
He tossed the comforter over his head, muffling his voice as he replied, “No. But don’t sing that any more.”
He’s right. That’s a really frigging sad song.
Tears or no tears, I love those last moments of the day with my kids. Ushering them to sleep with melodies that have become part of our fabric makes me feel like I’m doing at least one thing right.
Here’s my playlist. What’s in yours?
Sweet Child of Mine- Guns N’ Roses (lyrics)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Judy Garland (lyrics)
Blackbird- Sarah McLachlan (lyrics)
Lean On Me- Bill Withers (lyrics)
My Girl- The Temptations (lyrics)
Three Little Birds- Bob Marley (lyrics)
Sweet Baby James- James Taylor (lyrics)
You Are My Sunshine- Johnny Cash (lyrics)
Tomorrow- Annie original cast recording (lyrics)
Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (lyrics)
Landslide- Fleetwood Mac (lyrics)
More Adventurous- Rilo Kiley (lyrics)
The Way I Am- Ingrid Michaelson (lyrics)
Smile- Madeleine Peyroux (lyrics)
Here Comes the Sun- Nina Simone (lyrics)
Honorable mentions to the jams not available for a Spotify playlist include:
I Will- The Beatles (lyrics)
Pretty Much Anything By- The Beatles
Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)- Billy Joel (lyrics)
Annabel- Don Henley (lyrics)