Friend and fellow blogger, Carla Molina Martins, from www.allofmenow.com, started a writing prompt that’s meant to inspire you to write about your life before you became a mom, called the “Mom Before Mom Project”. I have been in a slump lately, using every excuse in the book (including my own book-related stuff) to get going on this cool series. But this week, I thought to myself, “Myself,” I said. “Enough is enough”. Carla has inspired me to jump in and write a post any time, so I thought, “Why not? I’ll go for it this week.”
In her latest post, she asks the question: What was bedtime like for you as a child? Here is my Jackie Tangent-inspired answer!
You know how you study your rear off in college, but you can’t remember a thing when you start your first real job? Then one day, out of the blue, stuff starts coming back to you? Random stuff? Stay with me here: That’s how I am with childhood memories. I can’t remember everything, but I do recall bits and pieces about my bedtime routine growing up in the suburbs near Houston, Texas.
You may think I’m crazy, but I honestly remember listening to music in the crib. Now, my family did not travel by bus, playing guitars and singing songs. My mom may have WANTED to raid Shirley Jones’ closet, but we were not by any means The Partridge Family. My crib was in the front bedroom with puke-green carpeting and a groovy stereo with a record player. My parents would play music on that stereo every night to help me fall asleep. I had tubes put in my ears as a baby and would cry a lot at night. But songs by bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles, and The Beatles filled the room and helped soothe me to sleep.
Even as a toddler, songs like Teach Your Children literally ended up in my dreams.When I was at Texas A&M University (Gig em Aggies!), I reviewed music for the university newspaper. I once wrote a review for an album (yes I said album) featuring acoustic remakes of some of Neil Young’s classics, and when I played the CD, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. The music literally felt like it was a part of me and my life. It sent me back to that room, where I fell asleep to the sounds from the stereo. The music was so nostalgic; it was like going back in that house again, with the God-awful floral 70’s wallpaper, shag carpet and yellow pleather sofa.
As my brother and I got a little older, I remember how my parents always sent us to bed early (maybe 8 p.m.) during the week, but on special nights, we got to stay up late and watch shows like Sha Na Na, Donny & Marie and Dance Fever. It was the best! Oh, I remember what life was like before VCRs, DVDs, DVRs, and cell phones. My brother (two years older) and I played with friends in the neighborhood until the street lights came on. We’d come in for dinner, play with toys, maybe a game of Sorry, hug our parents and boom, it was bed time. And my mom would give me a bowl of Cheerios any time I’d stand in my parents’ doorway complaining, “I can’t sleep!”
I remember my dad tucking me into bed and kissing my forehead. He always had a full beard and glasses. Still does, but he is all grey now. And my mom was big on hugs too. She had longer hair back then, and full on bell bottoms. When I had a bad dream about spiders or King Kong, I’d run down the hall to their room and snuggle in between them. I always needed a nightlight because my imagination would go wild. But I always felt safe with my parents. (That’s how I am with my kids today!)
As a teen, bed time was different. It meant my mom was going to use my middle name. My full name.
“Jacqueline Lee, are you still up?” (Guaaaa, mom, I mean really? As I chewed gum and twirled my Rave-permed hair in blue jelly shoes.)
“Jacqueline Lee, it’s time to get off the phone.” (As I chit-chatted on the phone with my best friends.)
“Turn down the music!” (I can still hear the Madonna songs blazing in the background. I also loved Bananarama, the Go Go’s, Led Zepplin, and CSN and other classics too.)
“It’s time for bed.” My room was filled with dorky posters torn from the pages of Tiger Beat and Teen Beat magazines, and I often had a tough time falling asleep. But when I did, I was out like a light.
After all, life was good. I was a happy kid. To this day, when I hear songs I listened to in the crib, I still get all nostalgic. And sleepy. I think I just discovered my cure for Mommy Insomnia…