Today is my Mommy’s birthday!
(photograph was taken in Washington, where my mom spent most of her child-and-teenage-hood, Feb 2006)
In honor of the mama, I’m sharing two mommy nursery rhymes. I found the first one in the Book of Nursery Rhymes that I recently conserved:
Who fed me from her gentle breast,
Who hushed me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
When sleep forsook my heavy eye,
Who was it sung sweet lullaby,
And soothed me that I should not cry?
Who sat and watched my infant head,
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell
Or kiss the place to make it well?
Who loved to see my pleased and gay,
And taught me sweetly how to play,
And minded all I had to say?
When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
Who taught my infant heart to pray,
And love God’s holy book and day,
And taught my wisdom’s pleasant way?
And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
Who wert so very kind to me,–
Ah no! the thought I cannot bear;
And if God please my life to spare,
I hope I shall reward thy care,
When thou art feeble, old and grey,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay;
And I will soothe thy pains away,
And when I see thee hang thy head
‘Twill be my turn to watch thy bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed,
For God, who lives above the skies,
Would look with vengeance in His eyes,
If I should ever dare despise
[This link offers this note: Taylor later softened the last verse, changing it to the following.]
For could our Father in the skies
Look down with pleased or loving eyes,
If ever I could dare despise
After a quick google search I found it’s quite well known; written by Ann Taylor, who also penned Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The final verse is tres Victorian, no? (Love your mother. Why? Because if you don’t you will suffer God’s wrath).
The next one was on the wall of a family’s house (whose name escapes me…their last name starts with a “D?”–the mission forgetfulness is setting it–if only I had President Monson’s memory!) on my mission in LA. They were a really great family and the fact that I can’t remember their name is really driving me crazy. Anyway, it was only the last third of the poem that was on their wall, and I quickly tried to memorize it. I at least remembered the last line, which just now made it possible for me to find with a quick Google search:
Song for a Fifth Child
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
It’s striking me–how a mother brings an infant into the world, and it’s just a little infant, but the baby (me!) grows up into a nearly-thirty-year-old person (how did that happen?!), and while she’ll always be my mommy, she also becomes more and more of a sister (if this makes any sense?) and a friend.
I’m SO grateful for my Mom.
Of all the mothers in the world, mine’s the beast!
(incidentally, I recognize that posting an innocent Victorian poem which contains both the words “breast” and “gay” is asking for google-search-engine trouble… yikes!)