Julianna loves books. She loves music. And especially, she adores reading books that can be sung. When Alex was little(r), I used to scour the section of the children’s stacks for books on trains and emergency vehicles. Nowadays, I scour the poetry section for songs I know.
One of her favorites is called Child of the Moon. Jeanne Cotter is a versatile lady—singer, pianist, composer, songwriter, and retreat presenter—whom we got to know long before we had children. It was her retreat for composers that gave me the last skills I needed to “break in” and get music accepted by GIA and WLP. And it was on the first day of her retreat that I found out that after three long, barren years, there was life growing inside my womb.
Before I left Minnesota that week, I bought Child of the Moon. Alex loved it for a while, and insisted on naming each and every animal on every page. And now, it’s Julianna’s turn.
Recently, Julianna “spoke” her first “word.” It emerged while reading that book. “When all the world is sound asleep, the… what is that, Julianna? Can you say mmmmmmmmmoon?”
“Mmmmmah,” she said. The sound went like a lightning bolt through my veins—after all, she’d never, not even once, consented to imitate a sound we asked her to make. The world went crazy for a minute—shrieking, clapping, hugging, kissing. Julianna was in Heaven.
Since then, she has begun to anticipate the actions I do: rocking back and forth like Grandma’s wooden chair, tumbling into sleep’s embrace, holding her near. My heart warms every time I sing it to her and see the clear language comprehension. There’s not a single animal in the book that my almost three-year-old can recognize, much less sign—they’re all forest animals, not livestock—yet she sits by herself and flips the pages endlessly. And I love singing it to her. Last night, Alex was singing along with me at the top of his lungs from the bathroom.
It makes me want to give Jeanne a big hug.