Today is Bob Seger’s 68th birthday. When I hear his name, I always think of his hit Against the Wind. Writer Timothy White of Rolling Stone magazine wrote that the song was “about trying to move ahead, keeping your sanity and integrity at the same time.”
That makes me laugh because I sang this song as a lullaby to my daughter when she was a baby. If there’s anything a new mom needs, it’s finding that lifeline to hold onto your sanity. I suppose if you can manage to lasso your integrity at the same time, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Why did I sing this song to my daughter? Simple. Because I liked the lyrics and the melody. I heard it on an oldies station once just before I gave her a bath, and I started humming it while I dressed her in her PJs. By the time she had her bottle and we’d settled into the cane back rocker, I started singing it softly. The rhythm of the song fit perfectly with the swaying of the rocker, and she was asleep in no time.
It wasn’t the first time I sang to her as I rocked her or played with her. Although I don’t have much of a voice, I can at least carry a tune and I do love music, so she heard quite a bit of me singing to her when she was young. And I wasn’t a traditionalist by any means. I don’t think I ever sat in that rocker and sang a “normal” children’s tune. No, she got everything from Leaving on a Jet Plane to Never Gonna Give You Up. Some of her favorites were classic Beatles songs, such as Yesterday or Michelle. I figured I had to be raising her right if she got Beatles tunes and plenty of them at an early age.
The payoff came one summer when she was ten. While on vacation in the Grand Tetons, we were hiking along Lake Jenny. It was the perfect June day, cool yet sunny, and it felt good to be alive, in nature, with my health and my family by my side. For some reason, I just started singing. No one was around, and my voice carried on the wind.
Then my daughter chimed in. She knew all the words to All My Loving, Can’t Buy Me Love, and Ticket to Ride. This was probably the last summer that we could’ve done this together. By the next year, the fact that I existed – much less breathed air – embarrassed her. But for that one, golden day she sang along with me (My husband probably thought we were nuts, but he always indulged us).
She still loves a good Beatles song, whether it’s in Across the Universe or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And a small part of me thinks I raised her right by exposing her to all kinds of music and not being the mom that sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to help lull her to sleep. Oh, she got plenty of kid’s tunes … but in the rocker was our time to indulge in other types of songs.
So I have to wish Bob Seger a happy birthday today, for Against the Wind brings back sweet memories of my beautiful baby in my arms, listening to her mom sing to her as she became drowsy.
And if there are grandbabies on the horizon someday? I can’t wait to croon a little Train and Bruno Mars, with liberal sprinklings from Adam Levine and Rob Thomas thrown in.
But I’ve already settled on the perfect tune for holding another baby to rock – Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars. I’m gonna be a granny that rocks … and rocks and rolls …