Monday, December 12, 2011

and if you should tire or cry . . .

I just finished one of my favorite moments of the day.  I crept out of the bedroom, turned the dimmer until the light clicked off, and pulled the door to gently behind me.  Tonight was a sleepy night - not a peep. 

Every night at six (that I'm home and not at church doing something), I start on the baby's dinner.  She sits in her Bumbo seat while I talk to her, explaining what I'm doing and giving her carrot and celery sticks to gum (this is the dog's favorite part because she gets a lot of healthy treats that are dropped from said Bumbo seat).  Whenever her supper is ready, we move into the dining room and I help her eat.  And whenever we get done there, we waltz into the bedroom and I change her diaper, wipe her mouth and hands, and put on her pajamas. 

Then I dim the lights, sit down in our rocker, pull her close to me, and sing.  I have always had a song in my soul (I am one of those people whistling or humming all day long), and one of my dreams was to have a baby to share my song someday.  And now I do!  I sing the same two songs every night.  One is a Billy Joel song that we sang in my junior high choir.  Somehow the lyrics and melody are still seared on my memory, and it came back to me the minute she was born.  It's just called "Lullabye." 

The second song is very special.  It was the song the congregation sang together at her baptism, and at the baptism of every baby.  I sing it to her to remind both of us about the promises we made on that day:

Vicki, Vicki, God claims you.
God helps you, protects you, and loves you, too.

We this day do all agree
a child of God you'll always be.

Vicki, Vicki, God claims you.
God helps you, protects you, and loves you, too.

We your family love you so,
we vow to help your faith to grow.

Vicki, Vicki, God claims you.
God helps you, protects you, and loves you, too.

We are here to say this day
That we will help you on your way.

Vicki, Vicki, God claims you.
God helps you, protects you, and loves you, too.

And if you should tire or cry,
Then we will sing this lullaby.

Vicki, Vicki, God claims you.
God helps you, protects you, and loves you, too.

When I first started singing it, I thought it was a little strange that I would say "we," when it was just me and the baby there in the darkness.  But then I thought of all the other people who were there too, their presence heavy in the room:  my mom (her grandma, the original Vicki Jo), my Grandma Joy and Grandpa Bill, Jeff's dad, God's Holy Spirit (not a person, but still).  We are her family, all of us.

I hope this song is embedded so deeply in her memory that nothing can take it away.  No matter what her relationship with God and the church ends up looking like, I want her to know that God's love for her enveloped her from the moment she came earthside. 

Sometimes the children of clergy can end up very resentful of the church (and God, too), because it is a demanding profession.  People may be unhappy with your parent as a pastor, and it colors your whole perception of God.  The church, for better or worse, is a collection of people who are simultaneously saved and sinners.  We try the best we can, but it can get ugly.  I pray that this is never the case for our family (and we are so happy where we are now!), but I want to make sure my baby knows that God's love for her is bigger than any pastor or any church.  God loves her even if she ever chooses to say "no" to God. 

And really, the song is for me, too.  I need to be reminded, every night, that God loves me, protects me, and that, once upon a time, a family of faith covenanted to help me on my way.  And that has made all the difference.

4 comments:

Mrs. Hartman said...

Crying and smiling at the same time. Good job.

Emily said...

Thanks Julia! You have a song in your soul too.

Amanda Rose said...

She'll keep this song with her forever! My mom used to sing "You are my Sunshine" to me and I still get a little misty when I hear that song. Until I was like 12 I thought she wrote it just for me and was shocked to hear it on an insurance commercial or something similarly awful. Luckily, you won't have to worry about that :)

Emily said...

Hah! My mom wasn't much of a singer, but my Grandma Joy would always sing "Say say my playmate, come out and play with me . . ." And I still remember her when it pops in my head!