Five for Friday

I sing my kids lullabies. That shouldn't be much of a surprise - most parents sing songs to lull their wee ones into rest. But I think I'm strange for a couple of reasons. First - I'm not a great singer, so I'm just waiting for the day one of my kids asks me to stop in the name of all that's good and holy. Second - I have a distorted view of what makes or defines a lullaby.

While normal parents are singing Rockabye Baby (or in my wife's case, Amazing Grace) the songs I employ to sing my kids to sleep are weighted on the side of unconventional.

For Christian... He was easy. The first kid into our life and the first snuggling up to my shoulder. And for those of you who know the full story, his homecoming was not an gentle journey. I didn't have to think about what songs were his songs.

Zu's songs weren't given much forethought, and I stumbled into them more than I sought them out. Now, looking back, those songs seemed predestined for her life in our house.

J Funk's been the biggest challenge. With the amount of time that he's spent in the hospital, the surgeries, the feeding tube, and feeble health... I haven't had the same privilege to cuddle him to sleep like I did with the other two. I wanted to have at least one song for him but nothing seemed right until I was listening to one of my favorite albums this past Wednesday night. As the song began to play over the speakers, he climbed up into my lap and laid his head against my shoulder. Then I heard the words in the chorus as if I was listening for the first time and it clicked - this is JJ's song.

Here are the five songs I've used and/or currently use as lullabies.

1. Third Day - Love Song (For Christian) Google the lyrics. For a first time daddy, this makes sense.

2. R Kelly - The World's Greatest (For Christian) This is without a doubt my cheesy side that picked this song. I may have been attempting to brainwash into him the self-confidence I lacked throughout my younger days. Or maybe I wanted him to think I was the coolest dad ever... before he even knew how to walk or talk.

3. The Beatles - Hey Jude (For Zu) Granted, I've changed the lyrics in spots. In the version my daughter knows, it's "Hey Zu" instead of "Hey Jude." And I changed all the references of "her" to "him" or "it." This one has stuck with Zu, as she's busted out singing this at random while riding around in the car. And Zu singing the "na-na-nana-na-naaaaa" part is one of the most adorable things on the planet (the only thing cuter is the sneezing panda).

4. Ben Folds - Gracie (For Zu.) There's a line in the song that says "You nodded off in my arms watching TV. I won't move you an inch even thought my arm's asleep." This was perfect. One of Zu's favorite things (when she was little) was to curl up in my arms while I kicked back in the recliner where she clung to my side like a koala; she'd fall asleep within minutes. I'd keep her there for an hour even if my arm was numb. Much like Hey Jude, I've substituted Zu's real name in place of the name Gracie. It works. And there's one more line that makes this song true for me and Zu. It's the line where Ben sings, "you will always have a part of me nobody else is ever going to see." Those are the moments in fatherhood that defies any description or explanation.

5. Our Lady Peace - Clumsy (For J Funk) Like I said, I happened to be listening to the record while J was up and ambling around the house. The two older kids were in bed and I was trying to tire J out before I laid him down for the night. When he climbed up into my lap, the chorus started to play: "And maybe you should sleep. And maybe you just need a friend. As clumsy as you've been, there's no one laughing. You will be safe in here." I looked down at JJ as he was rubbing his eyes against my chest and knew this was his song. Clumsy fit's him. He's our only kid that has needed stitches (so far), and his gait is far from graceful. As he grows, he's going to have the biggest challenges out of the three. Sometimes, he's just going to need a friend. He'll need to know - beyond anything - whether it's in my arms or his momma's, he's safe.

Out of the three, J Funk's lullaby is the most up-tempo song. However, up until now, the only song Bekah or I have sung to him (with any regularity) is a modified version of Parliament's Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker). Not a night time song in any way, shape, or form.

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