Baby Mine

When I was a child, I discovered my baby book – a scrapbook that was sent home with my mother from the hospital, titled The Book of Baby Mine. Being a word nerd from a young age, I was struck by that grammar – “baby mine” – it felt incorrect to me. It should be “my baby” or “the baby of mine,” I thought. (I hadn’t encountered the song by the same name from Dumbo yet, which might be where that title came from.)

Now, years later, being a parent whose first baby recently moved out of the nest – “baby mine” makes a whole lot more sense that has nothing to do with grammar.

You were so sweet you were so bright
You were so deer in my headlights
I helped you out, gathered you in
Held you gently against my skin

Baby mine I love you all the time
Baby mine you’re always in my mind

You are my joy born from pain
You’re the deep happiness I named
You are the laughter kissing my tears
My life restarted when you got here

Baby mine I love you all the time
Baby mine you’re always in my mind

Sleep well darling wherever you are
And know I’m close, though it feels far
I’ll sing for you all night long
These are the words, this is the song:

Baby mine I love you all the time
Baby mine you’re always in my mind

Hopeful Face of the Human Kind

Through my childhood and teenage years, my family moved around a lot. While our home address changed often, our favorite vacation place was the ocean, and we went there many times, up and down the Atlantic seaboard. One year when my brother and I were teenagers, my dad wrote a poem inspired by watching us run ahead of him, away from him, along the beach, where our smaller selves used to cling to his hand and struggle to keep up.

Now I’m the parent, and this is the last summer before my oldest moves out of my house and into a college dorm room (two weeks from today!). It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for all of us, and in one of the more angsty moments recently, she said to me, “my life is falling apart!” Which is a hard truth about growing up – the life you know is shrinking, fading, becoming the life you knew – to make way for the bigger life you are stepping into.

This is a song for Luthien, with footage from a video Nathan took of our kids enjoying the Ocean City, New Jersey surf on our vacation this summer. To quote the boardwalk souvenir shop we browsed later that day, “happiness comes in waves!”

You got a lot of something, I hope you take it with you
But bring it on back here sometimes, I’m gonna miss you child
Life as you know it’s falling apart without a doubt but
What you don’t know is out there for you to go and find

You were born for this
You were made for these times
You’re the hopeful face
Of the human kind

You gotta look ahead now, don’t worry I’m behind you
Loving you like I always have and always will
Life is the thing you make it so make the thing you want to
Take the scenic route, blaze a happy trail

You were born for this
You were made for these times
You’re the hopeful face
Of the human kind

You were born for this
You were made for these times
You’re the hopeful face
Of the human kind

Sweet Dynamite

In our house, a very favorite story is when my firstborn was young and one of us parents chided her for taking too much of something.

“But I like too much!” she shot back.

Yes she did. Luthien before adolescence was a whirlwind of a spirited child, my little stick of dynamite (I wrote about it on this very blog!). Now she’s just about finished with high school and that little pixie is history. She asked me the other day if I miss that kid, and I could honestly say no, I dearly loved that child and I deeply love the young adult she is now too.

This song and picture show is just a little lingering over a colorful past that I’m so grateful to have enjoyed – and gotten through!

Somebody said the sky’s the limit
So you had to go and get stuck in it
That’s my baby, that’s my child
Tangled in blankets of thunder clouds

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

And wouldn’t you know you’d find a way
To break the surly bonds and play
There’s something in the air up there
Makes you shake like you just don’t care

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite
I love you I love you I love you forever

Where would you be if not for me?
You’re very welcome, I’m so sorry
Oh my baby, oh my child
You make me crazy, you make me proud

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

You throw yourself down on the kitchen floor
Cause I gave you candy but you still want more
Nothing feels like it’s enough
When you’re loaded with a heart that loves too much

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

I love you I love you I love you forever

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

I Held You First

This past week was my son’s tenth birthday, so for week 45 of #songaweek2016, I wrote him a song and made a video to go with it. Now I have no more single-digit children!

Who could ever explain how a bald-headed bundle of joy
just by eating and sleeping and laughing and learning
grows into a long-haired long-legged ten-year-old boy?

I held you first
and right through the worst of those midnight crying hours
and I’ll be the last
to ever let go of the love you birthed in me

What a difference a decade of everyday days can make
first you’re reaching, then rolling, then crawling, then walking
jumping, kicking, running, swimming, climbing, never hitting the brakes

I held you first . . .

Be brave, be kind, be-you-tiful boy

I shouldn’t be shocked that you’ve been melting me from day one
cause chocolate bars and momma’s hearts
behave the same way in the light of the sun[son]

I held you first . . .

Immigrants’ Children


These are my kids, seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time last summer.

These children are good red-blooded Americans. Which means their genetic code is a patchwork produced by immigrants. They are here because a religiously persecuted sect called the Schwenkfelders fled Germany in the 1700s and settled in Pennsylvania. And they are here because another group seeking religious freedom left Sweden and settled in Minnesota. Their immigrant ancestors also include English and Irish, French, Spanish and Scot; and one Austrian grandmother on my side who by family accounts remained an undocumented immigrant her entire life. My children also have at least one non-immigrant ancestor, from the Native American Choctaw tribe.

I don’t know what my kids are up to in this photo – I took it but I didn’t pose it and I don’t recall if I knew what they were doing (maybe trying to catch bird poop?!), but just now, I like to imagine that the immigrants who made them are rising up and reaching out through them, towards that hope of freedom, a new start, a land of opportunity. I like seeing the sun shining on their young hands, and I hold out hope that love and compassion and courage will flow through those hands as they grow up in this deeply divided nation and inevitably encounter suffering, unkindness, and injustice in many forms.

And I pray for their mother to let them inspire her, to speak up and stand up for the vulnerable, to help them make their way peacefully and bravely in this world, to not be afraid.

And for today’s immigrants, in so many ways so like my own ancestors and my husband’s, and those of my neighbors, of my friends, of so very many of my fellow Americans – I pray peace, safety, freedom, and opportunity. And I stand with them, on the legs I inherited from immigrants, their hopes and dreams still alive in me – and in these children.