In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We’re all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night
~Billy Joel, “River of Dreams”
I loved that song when I was in high school.
And now, 12 years later, I find myself walking in my sleep through the land of diapers to the babies in their cribs. And when I get there? They are usually crying. Sometimes, for added bonus, they are covered in puke.
I love it.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I love holding them and rocking them and praying feverishly that they will NOT throw up on me (or Frank or Grandma) and that they WILL go back to sleep easily after their middle of the night feedings.
When I am rocking the girls and NOT praying for positive digestive results (“Dear God, please help Ellie move her bowels so that I won’t have to do that thing with the thermometer that the doctor told me about that sounds so terrible!! And dear God, please do not let Carrie puke down my shirt again. If she pukes on my shirt, that’s okay, but if she pukes down it, I’m going to have to shower and I really, really just want to go to bed…”), I try to sing to the girls.
Ahem. I try to sing because I am not a very good vocalist. I have no ear. And I have no memory for songs.
So in the middle of the night, I try to remember songs I liked growing up. And I try to sing them as best as I can. It usually goes like this, “In the middle of the night, I go walking in my sleep, to the river of dreams, in the middle of the night, I go walking…” and I realize I am in a death loop with the lyrics and heavens, I don’t even think I have the right lyrics!
When I come to the realization that I am about to permanently lodge a song in my brain with completely incorrect lyrics, I then make up songs for the girls.
“My name is Carrigan, I went to the fair again, I won a bear again, who has no hair again, just like me, I’m Carrigan.”
And Carrie doesn’t really seem to care much. Singing a song that makes sense or doesn’t make sense does not seem to impact the likelihood that she will puke on me.
For Elliana, sometimes I sing to her, “My name is Elliana, I have a friend Gianna, we went to Tia-juana.” But that’s as far as I get before I start thinking, “Well, I think it’s Tijuana, not Tia-juana. And isn’t that where they used to race the horse they made the movie about? Not Secretariat, but the other horse movie. The other recent one. The horse who won all three. Gosh. Who was that?”
And so you will find in my Google history that I have googled “Lyrics for Billy Joel’s River of Dreams”, “clumpy baby spit up”, and “horses that won the triple crown.”
By the way, Seabiscuit, the horse I was thinking about, did not win the Triple Crown. War Admiral did. But Seabiscuit won more races that year overall and more money. So, I guess I can tell the girls that little factoid when I am singing to them in the middle of the night, when I go walking in my sleep.
To the river of dreams…