Lullabies for many mothers

Tess and Remy have been very curious about who Amy is, and why Lilou gets to talk to her more than they do. We explain that Amy is Lilou’s first mom, and for the first time I see Tess’s brow wrinkle. She’s starting to wonder what that means.

We’ve wondered when the kids would start to ask about who is who in our world. Right now, the concept of friends is very new. Tess thinks everyone is her friend, or if I’m lucky, my friend. The idea of family can’t be far behind, and in this household, that isn’t an easy concept. Dave has a natural talent for simplifying complicated ideas. I’m waiting for his lightbulbs to illuminate our conversation. In the meantime, we are keeping things light and straightforward.

For example, Tess and Remy have strong memories of Kat and Micky from our visit this summer. We keep explaining that they are Tess’ first family; she keeps mixing Micky up with Mickey Mouse. Sorry Micky! They adore them and always talk about our picnic.

We talk about how all of our kids have two moms, and how lucky that is. We talk about extra love. For now, I think that’s enough. We love how the kids fawn over photos of our adopted family. They do know who everyone is, even if they don’t understand how we all fit together.

As I sang to the kids tonight, as I do every night, I realized that I sing to them for all of the moms. The songs I gravitate to have themes like love from afar, love for forever despite separation: Baby Mine, Goodnight My Someone, Somewhere over the Rainbow, Make New Friends but Keep the Old. They come from different points in my history, and come unbidden.

“Goodnight My Someone” has been creeping up on me. I found myself humming it all the time but couldn’t remember the words at bedtime. One night, I woke up at 2 AM and remembered all of the words. I sang at the next night, and remembered it’s one of the first songs I ever learned in a voice lesson as a teenager. When I finally managed to piece it together in the dark, it’s return made so much sense. I don’t sing the entire song, but here’s the verses the kids hear:

Good night my someone, good night my love. Sleep tight my someone, sleep tight my love. Our star is shining it’s brightest light, so good night my love, so good night.

Sweet dreams be yours dear, if dreams there be. Sweet dreams to carry you close to me. I wish they may and I wish they might, so good night my someone, good night!

The song is sweet and simple. The full version is lovely, but these two verses say everything so beautifully. The words make me think of yearning, of love from afar and love incomplete. At one time or another, all of our birth families have expressed how wonderful it is to watch these children grow, and how painful it is to watch them grow up somewhere else.

I love how happy the song is; I love the promise of a happy ending implied during the era of its writing. (It’s from an old musical.) The love described isn’t parent to child, and doesn’t reflect the complexity of a birth mother’s love and loss, or of my feelings of good fortune and sadness. Yet the words resonate with the many colors of those relationships.

In those moments in the dark, I feel my children’s other mothers very near to me as I hold Tess’ hand or rub Remy’s back, or snuggle Lilou close; I feel how united we all are in our love for these beautiful kids, and how responsible David and I are for giving them a life made of dreams and love and family. In those moments, I feel pressure to earn the right every day to be their mom. Yet I also feel these other mothers’ faith in our ability to do that, and in their support of us as parents and all of us as a family.

I wonder sometimes if a lullaby will ever just be a lullaby, or if that will simply be my moment to commune with the people who can’t be here every night to do the same. I hope they feel us thinking about them, and know that they are ever present in our children’s lives and in our hearts and minds. I wonder if the children feel that the way I do, and what they think about while I’m singing in the dark. It has always been and will always be the most perfect moment of every day.

2 thoughts on “Lullabies for many mothers

  1. Liebe Maggey und lieber Dave,
    ich bin reich beschenkt mit meinen Kindern, Enkeln und Urenkelinnen, aber seit Tess bei euch ist und wir an ihrer Entwicklung und ihrer großen, so wunderbaren Familie teilhaben können, fühle ich mich um Vieles reicher. DANKE!!!

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