Sticker Stories and Songs
"To infinity, and beyond..." ~ Buzz LightyearI was singing AJ to sleep the other night (ohhh, how very, very loosely I use the term singing) and I, per usual, found myself at a loss for what to sing. While I love music tremendously--with close to 5,000 songs on my iPod, an almost dysfunctional need to go in and listen to at least five or six CDs whenever I am in the vicinity of a Borders, and a lifetime of playing/enjoying/celebrating all types of music--I have no clue what to sing to my children at night.
Sticker stories? Forget about it. (I do realize I could have inserted a cheeky "Fuggedaboutit" here but, well, I am a WASP.) AJ has this kickass sticker book, each page featuring its own theme. There's a sports page, one with Medieval characters, there's bugs, aliens, cars, construction workers, animals, food, etc. Before bed, we'll go through the book--with AJ picking out one sticker from each page and me sticking said items to his forearms. We then formulate a "sticker story" on a blank page. (Desperation, people. Work with me, here.)
While AJ peels the stickers off of his cute little arms and places them randomly on the page, I quickly try to weave together a story that somehow makes sense. A story such as Wednesday night's: "Steve the alien arrived in town, hopped onto his tractor, and met up with a jouster named Rick. Together they came across three quite spry little butterflies who were playing soccer at the time. Thank goodness the tree sloth came along when he did, as Steve, Rick, and the butterflies desperately needed a goalie. After the game they all hopped onto a single ATV and went out for pizza." Lame? Perhaps. But AJ loves it. (Lila prefers I read her every Elmo and princess book in existence while she cuddles her panda and readjusts her blankie. Such a girl.) After a time, though, we need to turn off the lights and get down to business.
Enter: lullabies. I have played with traditional songs, changing out the old lyrics and inserting far more colorful, of-this-century ones: "Hush little Woody, don't say a word. Buzz is going to buy you a Tweety Bird." Or (to the tune of Rudolph): "You know AJ, and Lila, and Mommy, and Daddy... Kirsten, and David, and Paul, and Patty... But do you recall? The most silly grandparents of all?..." and so on. I figure it's far more G-rated than the songs for whose lyrics I magically do recall. Though I love me my De La Soul, sweetly singing "Jenny/lost my favorite penny/so I gave her a dolla'/she kissed me and I holla'd" to my precious, sleepy baby girl just doesn't sit right with me. Yet.
After Wednesday's chronicle of Steve and Rick shenanigans, I turned off the lights and began to sing to AJ. I made up a song called "To Infinity and Beyond". I just repeated those words over and over, employing a simple little melody. AJ fell fast asleep, but I kept singing. To infinity and beyond, to infinity and beyond... And that's when the tears came. Boy did they come...
See, one of my dearest friends received devastating news this weekend. She found out she has Stage 4 cancer. And while the shock is still very new and raw, just a few days later, I am certain she is going to beat this thing. I quite honestly have no doubt. It's going to be a long road, but if anyone can do it, my lovely Heddy can.
So why did those four words make me so, so sad? To infinity and beyond. Why did they resonate with me on a very emotional level that night, versus make me think of a purple and green Pixar character and his circa-'50s cowboy BFF? I think it's because, when you love someone so much, the last thing you want is for them to hurt. There are only a few people on this mortal coil who I cherish to the deepest parts of my soul, but for those friends and family, I would go to infinity and beyond. To make sure they are OK. To comfort, console, give everything I have to make it all better.
And when I can't? Well... There are no words. Just a ton of tears and a silly Buzz song.