When Garrett was younger, I had to sing him to sleep. Sometimes I would sing and sing and sing and just when I thought he was out, he'd pop his head up and say, "Another one." I can still remember cuddling into him in that tiny toddler bed and singing. Forever.
I got so tired of the same songs and I would search my brain for songs that I knew all the words to. Once, on a weird whim, I busted out the first verse of American Pie. Then the second. And so on and so forth until I'd finished the song.
For some strange reason, my then two-year-old fell in love with it and asked, often, for the song about whiskey and rye. So, you know, not my finest parenting moment.
Today, on the way home from visiting some friends, Garrett asked me to sing him the song about the king getting his crown stolen.
"What?" I asked him, confused.
"Can you sing the song where the king gets his crown stolen and a bunch of other weird stuff happens?"
And that, folks, is all it took. "Do you mean the one where the king was looking down and the jester stole his thorny crown and the courtroom was adjourned and no verdict was returned?" I asked.
"That's it!" he shouted from the back.
"A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance, and maybe they'd be happy for awhile. But February made me shiver with every paper I'd deliver. Bad news on the doorstep--"
"Why was there bad news on the doorstep?" he asked.
"It means that there was always bad news in the newspaper. Bad things were happening.--I couldn't take one more step. I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride. Something touched me deep inside the day the music died. So bye bye Miss American Pie drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry. Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye--"
"What's whiskey and rye?" he interrupted.
"An alcoholic beverage."
"Is it good?" he asked.
"I have no idea. I doubt it."
"Alright. Go on," he granted his permission.
"Singing this'll be the day that I die. This'll be the day that I die. Did you write the Book of Love and do you have faith in God above?"
"I do!" came Matthew's voice. "I have faith in God above and Jesus in my heart wight now!"
"I know you do! That's so great!" I exclaimed.
"Yep. It's gweat!"
It's funny that American Pie is a full decade older than me. Funnier still that I memorized the entire thing during the Great Oldies Obsession of my middle school and high school years. And, perhaps, funniest--in a bizarrely poignant sort of way--that it is now a song that I share with my children. A song that immediately reminds me of snuggling my toddler to sleep and, now, the love my second son has for Jesus.
And, again, yes. Perhaps I won't be winning mother of the year any time soon.