Little Willow lay in my arms. I rocked the rocking chair back and forth with my toes, and tried to keep her comfortable on my lap. I realized as soon as we got settled rocking I should have cradled her head with my left arm, so when she was asleep I could place her in the crib the way she liked it.
I breathed a huge sigh and began to retrace the evenings events. We had gone to the park after eating supper together. The air was so thick and hot, I felt as if the sky was falling. Quickly, I searched for shade and pulled her out of her stroller so she could toddle around and search for treasure. She loved to pick up rocks and sticks. She kept wanting to veer off into the open field where the sun mercilessly turned us into puddles. Our nature walk was short, much to her chagrin, but I wanted to make sure we made it home before we evaporated.
I put her in the bath when we got home, and lined up all her plastic sea toys on the edge of the tub. She waited in anticipation for my “ding” signal, as one by one I would flick them off into the water. She would burst into a bouquet of giggles, throw the wet toys back at me, and I would start all over again. Getting wet on the dry side of the tub was refreshing for a change.
Her Mom and Dad had wisely instructed me to get her p.j.’s ready before her bath, and her diaper, so I could just lay her in them straight out of the towel, but I had forgotten. So instead, I let her run around in the buff while I searched for her stuff.
When I had finally collected everything to get her dressed for bed, she decided it would be fun to see if Grandma could put her diaper on her while she was in the sitting position. Not. But it was sure fun to try. I think she thought I was quite the dummy when I had to refasten her diaper for the third time, so it wasn’t crooked.
No wonder I was exhausted I mused, when she finally lay in my arms with her bottle. They told me she liked to be sung to while falling asleep, so we rocked ourselves into an imaginary land to the tune of a new song. The words just seemed to flow off my tongue as if the melody and lyrics had been waiting nearby in my mind’s closet, for such a time as this. When I finished singing the final phrase, I began again from the top, so I wouldn’t forget it. After the second sing through I stopped, thinking little Willow was asleep.
Instead, a tender little voice broke the silence, and made the sound she usually makes when she wants more of something. So again I sang, and again, until my voice sounded like sandpaper, then a faded whisper.
I got up from our magical place, and laid her in the crib. Not a peep.
Later that week when I returned home, I carefully crafted each phrase of the song, “Willow’s Lullaby” into a book. Soon, when I find the perfect time to steel away into the studio, I will record the song and put it in a sleeve at the back of her book. One day when I am in heaven, she will still be able to visit our magical place by opening the pages and reading along to the song.
Fewer things in life are as magical as rocking your grandchild to sleep, and singing in her dreams.
Thank you Wes and Laura for making these special moments possible.