“May Theres”

May there always be sunshine

May there always be blue skies

May there always be Mommies

May there always be me…

I sang this lullaby for him at bedtime.  He who started his day crying at the breakfast table over his great-grandfather, still struggling in the hospital.  He who told his curious little brother, “They’re just trying to keep him from dying,” and then began to weep.  The one who then saw me crying too, and put his finger on the perfect old family joke that would, finally, make us both laugh through our tears, take a deep breath, and start our day over.

May there always be sunshine

May there always be blue skies

May there always be Daddies

May there always be me…

I sang it for him, not in spite of its ridiculous simplicity but, rather, because of it.

I did it for this boy.  The boy who today tried to wrap his mind around an earthquake that could take the lives of 10,000 faraway people.  A loss we can’t begin to fathom.  Who hasn’t even heard about the cyclone yet, in part because I was out of town when it occurred and in part because I can’t bear to tell him, frightened as he is of tornadoes.

Singing this sweet Russian folk song felt quite nearly wrong tonight, as if I were leading him astray in this dangerous and unpredictable world. And yet I persisted, because the reverent hush that immediately fell over the bedroom was so uniquely beautiful.

May there always be sunshine

May there always be blue skies

May there always be boys

May there always be me…

“You should sing about girls, too,” he demanded, sense of equality strong, and so of course I did.

And then from the top bunk came, “I’m making a box up here, Mommy.” As he spoke I could barely make out a smallish finger tracing the shape of a square in the darkness.  “I’m putting all of the ‘may theres’ in the box.  The sunshine, you know?  And the blue skies, and the Mommies and Daddies, and boys and girls.  And I think tomorrow night you should sing about Pokemon and Webkinz, too. They’re all going into my box together.”

I can’t put this boy in a box of his own, here in his dark room.  I can’t protect him from natural disasters or illness or death of his loved ones.  But if I can give him a collection of “may theres” – a box to keep deep in his heart, one that is overflowing with all that he holds dear as he relaxes into sleep each night but also as he faces nightmares even in his days over the years – it occurs to me that this might be enough.  It might actually be the best we can do.

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7 responses to ““May Theres”

  1. Jordan, this is beautiful and the so poignantly sweet about making his box. Yes, it may be the best we can do and we have to trust that it will be enough.

    Thinking of you and sending good thoughts —for your grandfather, too.

  2. So beautiful. Every bit of it. I still dream about my grandmother, maybe even once a week. We were very close, and it’s a blessing that your kids had a chance to know (about) him. You’re equipping them with such strong values, Jordan, but their sweetness and compassion is theirs alone. Brava. And belated Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. I love this! How incredibly beautiful. How to protect and knowing we can’t is something I think of so often. I found your blog through Kyra. I’m so pleased that I have.

  4. Wonderful post! My kids used to sing this song with their nanny when we lived in Ukraine. I love what you’ve done with such a simple little song. It’s a huge gift for our kids. Thanks!

  5. Jordan, thanks for hopping over to my blog! Yes, I live in Chicago! I figured out you do to after I commented here. Neat! And you’re a Speech Therapist! Us special needs mamas love friends like that! Take care!

  6. Beautiful post!!! I’m going to have to seek out this song because I’d love to hear the melody that goes with those beautiful lyrics.

  7. Jordan, Mari, et al,

    Chicago children’s musician Jim Gill has a nice rendition of this song. I think he also made it into a colorful book. We listened to a lot of his music when my boys were toddlers and preschoolers. Some of Jim’s sillier tunes also made their way onto my iPod (my current playlist, which I had a little help compiling).

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