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Lullabies and Promises

October 2, 2012

My mother often sang me to sleep when I was very young. I remember her sitting on the edge of my bed, endlessly patting my back as I nuzzled my blue blanket and chewed my thumb.

There was one lullbye I remember clearly. The words nonsensical, but the melody is captivating and I sing it for my children to this very day.

Shule, shule, shule-a-roo,
Shule-a-rak-shak, shule-a-ba-ba-coo.
When I saw my Sally Babby Beal,
come bibble in the boo shy Lorey.

It’s one of their favorites.

In trying to research the origins of (what I believed to be) an ancient ancestral lullabye, passed down through generations of good Scottish American frontierswomen, I found this instead.

Word for word! And of course it all makes sense. Dad loved Peter, Paul and Mary and had all their records. (He loved Joan Baez, too, but she never sang me any of those.)

I slipped into Scooby’s room late on Friday night with my laptop. I made sure he was tucked in and comfy and told him I had a surprise.

We listened once. He was so still and quiet.

Ohhhhh, mom! I loved that. But I’m not really sleepy yet, can you play it again?

I played it again, and this time, he didn’t stir as the song ended and I shut the lid.

I kissed him and brushed the hair off his forehead and whispered:

I still remember my mother’s voice singing those words, lovey. I hope you will always hear my voice singing them, too.

One more kiss, and I turned to leave the room.

As I reached the door, out of the quiet dark I heard him whisper:

I will, mom.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2012 9:58 am

    OH! This made me tear up. Such a sweet, poignant story about you, your mom and your boy. Listening to the song now…

  2. October 2, 2012 10:01 am

    What a beautiful song – somehow, I never heard that one. Reminds me of how good PP&M could be…. but I’m betting the song itself is old. Is it?

  3. October 2, 2012 10:24 am

    Beautiful. Choked back some tears, too.

  4. Lynne permalink
    October 2, 2012 10:39 am

    This one got me. Amazing where the things we remember from childhood come from.

  5. Kari permalink
    October 2, 2012 5:20 pm


  6. October 5, 2012 9:43 am

    I appreciate the follow-up post’s cheer after you broke my heart here. 🙂 Thanks for these glimpses, Adelle.

  7. SArah permalink
    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm

    Sitting at my desk, trying not to let my co workers see my tears.

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