Our nighttime routine with Isabelle has been the same for awhile now.
I don’t know if it was because she was trying to delay bedtime or because she loves my voice, but Isabelle has been requesting a song before I leave her room for the past two weeks. I tried singing D’ror Yikra, which is a song that used to lull her to sleep as a baby. She wasn’t thrilled with it. So, I defaulted to HaMalach HaGoel, a Hebrew Lullaby I learned when she was two years-old. The Maccabeats sing it and — since she LOVES the Maccabeats — she loves this song. Last week, all I sung, every night, was HaMalach HaGoel.
This past Sunday afternoon, we attended a William Close and the Earth Harp Collective concert. They performed “Erev Shel Shoshanim,” which is the song I walked down the aisle to on my wedding day. (It’s like the “Here Comes the Bride” of the Jewish world.) Hearing it performed live made me nostalgic so I offered that up to Isabelle as an alternative to HaMalach HaGoel on Sunday night. She’s chosen it instead of HaMalach HaGoel nearly every night since then… including tonight.
Tonight I asked her “Do you want me to sing ‘HaMalach HaGoel’ or ‘Erev Shel Shoshanim’ before I tuck you in?” It took her awhile to decide since she wanted BOTH. (Mommy was too tired and still has too hoarse of a voice from being sick to attempt to sing both!) She eventually picked “Erev Shel Shoshanim.” Once she got herself completely cozy under her blanket with her dolly under her arm, she told me “you can sing now.”
And sing I did. I rubbed her back gently. I tucked her wet curls behind her ear. I watched her eyelids flutter closed, though she kept trying to open them in an effort to fight sleep. My breath caught. There I was singing the song I hope she’ll walk down the aisle to one day — many years from now — when she marries. Was this the right song to sing? I mean, I want to pass down songs from our tradition to her at bedtime, but maybe this wasn’t the right lullaby.
When I finished, I kissed her smooth cheek and said, “I love you. Good night. Have pleasant dreams.”
“Good night, Mommy. I love you, too.”
And with that, I closed her door and she went to sleep.
I walked out of her room and stopped questioning myself. Any song that lulls my child to sleep and shares the music of the Jewish tradition with her is a perfectly fine choice.
For your listening enjoyment:
Feel free to let me know which one you prefer!