“Bobbily do, bobbily do,” leaps out into the silence of 2:30 AM.
“Bobbily do, bobbily do.”
I am in my bed, not sleeping, but not wide awake either.
At first, I think it is a bird singing out of tune. A bird with a sore, scratchy throat.
But birds like that exist only in fantasy, in the storybook tales of pre-school children. But this is no fantasy, and I know where the sound is coming from.
When I tiptoe into my mother’s room, she is curled up like a kitten on her right side, her bare feet and legs poking out of her flannel nightgown.
“Bobbily do,” louder this time. Then her dreaming voice erupts into a crescendo of nonsense sounds, sounds that eerily resemble a childhood lullaby—I just don’t know which one.
Where is my mother when she sings?
I think she is singing the lullaby to the frightened five-year-old child she once was, lulling her to sleep.
Now when I nudge her, my mother jerks up in a dreamlike state and rocks her groggy body back and forth, her eighty-eight years magically sliding off her.
“Let’s go to that restaurant,” my mother suddenly declares, beaming.
“What restaurant, Mom?”
“You know, the one at the corner that serves beer, where your father used to go with Ellen’s dad.”
I have no idea which restaurant she’s talking about, but I say anyway: “Maybe when the aide comes, she can drive us there.”
“Why drive? We can walk.”
I suppress a sigh. These days my mother can barely walk to her bathroom, a few feet from her bed.
“We can take the shortcut,” she persists.
“Yes, Mom, that’s right, we’ll take the shortcut.”
Then I hug her tenderly and totter back to sleep.
Send a comment to the author: