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When my children were young, they did not sleep much. Not ever during the day, and not much at night. In later years, my daughter Elizabeth would claim that this was due to all the stories I read to them at every opportunity. It was, after all, story time all the time at our house.
Very late at night, sometimes very early in the morning, they would wake. They would toss and turn. They would call for us. And we would attend to each of them…room by room, wakeful child by wakeful child.
Sometimes, all that was needed was a quick hug, a soothing voice, a drink of water. Sometimes, not even the wakeful and fussy child would know what was the matter. But, always, the one thing that guaranteed solace was my husband, Scott, singing “Edelwiess”.
Our kids grew out of their wakeful stages the moment they learned to read. After that, they could always reach for a book in those middle-of-the-night hours to provide a diversion from their worries, or simply someplace to travel to in their imaginations until the need for sleep took over once again.
“Edelwiess” was seldom heard again in our house, but the memory of it has lingered on…we have just to hear the first strains of it to be transported back in time to cribs, pajamas with footsies, and soothing our little ones back to sleep to the sound of Scott’s voice. We never hear it without tearing up.
For the last two weeks, Scott has been touring Austria with our youngest, Livy. And, on their last day there, she gifted him with this:
We unwrapped it together the evening he returned.
And we listened:
And we remembered…