These days, I’m missing my family. My parents live in Northern Indiana, one brother lives in Michigan and the other in Ohio, so the trip from Texas takes quite a bit of finagling to make reunions happen. Of course, during this horrible-no-good-crapticious-pandemic I couldn’t travel even if I wanted to. My folks are 93 years young, and doing well, and I want to keep it that way.
Y’all know I’ve written stories and books for years. One of my most popular posts comes from my Complete Kitten Care book, and tells the story of How Tabby Got an “M.” But you may not know that I also write lyrics and songs.
Birth of a Song Writer: Mary’s Song
Way back in October 1985, then living in Kentucky or maybe it was Tennessee, I traveled to visit my parents. I’d written poetry years before in High School (rather bad angsty stuff as I recall). And I’d sung a LOT of music since my major in college was vocal performance. I’d even done a bit of arrangement (of other people’s work). But in the back seat of the car, during the 30-minute ride from the airport to my parent’s house, the verse came to me, complete with melody. I hammered out the accompaniment on my parents’ piano, the one I started lessons on in second grade, and scribbled it down (I still have the original manuscript paper). And I dedicated it to my Dad for his birthday on October 26.
I sang it for Dad then, while playing the piano. Later, he shared it with my high school choir teacher, and also the church where I grew up, and they each performed a women’s 3-part treble version I arranged. Here in Texas, I’ve often played the piano accompaniment for my own church and our choir also performed it as part of a Christmas mini-cantata with other pieces. Most recently, the Children’s Chorus of North Texas performed the song. But it’s never been performed with the orchestration, so here it is–the first song I ever wrote. (Images in the video licensed/used with permission from DepositPhotos.com).
Mary’s Song, A Christmas Lullaby
Oh Child, oh Child, my baby my own,
Sleeping so soundly in my arms.
Oh child what will you do
When Momma’s arms are gone?
When Momma’s arms are no more your world,
Oh Child what will you do?
Oh Child dear Child, why can’t you stay small?
Why must I lose you? Unfast my arms…
Oh Child, what shall I do
When empty arms are all?
When empty arms that were so full
Still long to cradle you?
Hold Him softly, long as I’m able,
Leaving my arms will come far too soon.
Love Him gently, love mustn’t wither.
Flower shan’t wilt before proof of the bloom.
Oh Child, my Child, my baby, my own,
Resting so softly in my arms.
I grieve for what will be,
When Momma’s arms are gone.
I hold you close—as will the world—
My love shall go with thee.
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