Before we traveled halfway around the world to adopt our first child, we had a thousand questions. What would he like to eat? What size clothes would he need? What would he call us?Much as my arms ached to hold our baby before we met him, I never thought about how we would soothe him to sleep.
Those first nights we were together, as we took turns holding our toddler in our arms to let him know we were his safe—if unfamiliar—place, I sang the only lullaby that came to mind: Toora Loora Loora.
Over in Killarney, many years ago,
My mother sang a song to me,
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good old Irish way,
I’d give the world if she could sing
That song to me today….
It’s a lullaby my parents used to sing to me and to my five siblings. It’s a song Bing Crosby’s recorded voice has sung to me many times. And it’s a song I have sung while holding my nieces and nephews when they were babies, too.
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don’t you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, it’s an Irish lullaby.
There’s something about the rhythm, the soothing tones. You move from words into humming, holding the baby until he’s just tired enough that you can slip him into the crib, praying he won’t wake up in that transition. Then you tiptoe off to bed, fingers crossed that you can get a few hours of solid sleep.
Today, my children think they are too old for lullabies. But now and then I still turn to “Toora Loora Loora” when someone is sick or needs a little extra closeness. By the end of the song, we both feel a little bit better.
Oft in dreams I wander
to that cot again.
I feel her arms a-hugging me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a-hummin’
to me as in the days of yore,
when she used to rock me fast asleep
outside the cabin door.
I was thinking that right now might be a time when each of us wants to be held, when we want to fall asleep to the sweet soothing assurance that we are loved. We have faith that we are held—every one of us—in the arms of our loving Father in heaven. The challenge can be finding ways to set aside the anxiety of the day and place ourselves in His presence, knowing He is walking with us on this road.
I don’t know what might be soothing for you—a walk in the sunshine, a few minutes looking at the stars, a phone call with a friend, or a few moments of prayer while doing yet another sink full of dishes. Maybe it’s listening to a favorite song. Maybe it’s sneaking into your child’s bedroom—no matter how old she is—and watching her sleep late at night.
Whatever it is, I hope you can find your own Irish lullaby—an internal soundtrack of peace. May we always know that we are held and know we are loved.
Photo by Carlo Navarro/Unsplash.com.