Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

26 November 2005

"You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby"

It is kind of sweet, imagining the one you love as a child, imagining them so precious and new. I knew this song ahead of time a bit better than most of the others, it's not too overdone for me yet, though it could be in time.

No one told me what it's really like to be a parent, not all of it. Mostly because no one could know what my unique experience would be. And some of what they did say I never really believed, some to my benefit, some not. Sure, I heard that I would get no sleep, but I didn't know that it would be years of no sleep, not just months. I met mothers before I became pregnant who said that after giving birth, they were in better shape than they had ever been. That, happily, did turn out to be true. I also met mothers who were so happy being pregnant, so earth mother content to nurse until their children entered kindergarten, and I hated being pregnant, and the thought of having this alien pod thing attached to my outside, feeding on me, just when I had freed the inside of my body from it--there was no way on earth that I would even consider this slave-like behavior. Somehow my daughter has lived to tell the tale, and I didn't go to hell, which some people seemed on the verge of implying. Because it is true, that having a child gives everyone else in the world some sort of permission to tell you how to raise said child. I've made this rule work to my benefit, fully embracing the 'it takes a village' notion, and reprimanding other people's children freely in public for things like hitting, and destroying property. And I have been duly chastised for this, since some parents think it's perfectly fine for their children to rip up bulbs planted in your yard, just as a random example.

My husband and I thought long and hard before deciding to have a child, and I actually couldn't seem to stick to any one choice. So many pros and cons either way, and in the end I was grateful to my husband for saying to me, firmly, "Let's just make a decision, and then we'll stick to it, no matter what your mood swings tell you." I did realize that I would regret not having a child more, and even now, even when it's difficult, and she tries my patience so incredibly far beyond any horizon I could have envisioned, it is all worth it. We have the opportunity to live with this incredible person, to be the primary witnesses to her emerging humanity, to perhaps even guide that process in some way. She is the arrow that we have let go, though it's more of an ongoing process of aiming, effort, release, and then beginning again, sometimes as if from scratch.

No one, no thing, could have prepared me for this, and I would not give it up, I would not give her up, for the world.


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