Last night, as Ben Blair and I were going from bedroom to bedroom, turning off lights and tucking in kids, it occurred to me that the only room where we still sing a lullaby is June & Betty’s. Each of our children was sung to nightly for years and years, but the ritual has faded for all but the youngest two.

The lullaby we use is one that was sung to me by my own mother, and as I was going through the melody last night, I wondered if there were other parents around the world singing the same song. I realized I’d sung the song thousands of times but I’d never thought to look up the source. What I found was predictable but interesting. Both the tune and words I inherited are different than the ones I could hear in online samples. And of course, we decided we like our version best of all. It’s so familiar to us it’s practically tattooed on our souls. : )

The lullaby we sing is called Tender Shepherd. I’m not brave enough to sing you the tune we use, but the lyrics we prefer are:

Tender shepherd.
Tender shepherd.
Watching over all his sheep.
One in the meadow.
Two in the garden.
Three in the nursery, fast asleep.

Repeated until eyes are droopy…  If we need backup lullabies, we pull from our favorite church songs, usually this one.

I was thinking about it, and I can’t figure out when we stopped singing to the older kids. I don’t remember making a conscious decision about it, or acknowledging this was one of the last times I’d be singing a lullaby to Oscar or Olive or Mimi or Ralph. I assume it happened slowly. The thoughts made me a feel tender-hearted as I wondered how many nights of lullaby singing were in my future.

I’d love to hear: Does your family have a preferred lullaby? And if you’ve stopped singing, what age were your kids?

P.S. — Image here. Plus, newborn Baby June, fast asleep.