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dont_keepLiz Mackay

It was a typical Monday morning with children to awaken and help prepare for the day, lunches to pack, laundry to oversee, vacuuming to start. As I moved forward to accomplish these needed tasks, my two youngest children kept coming up and petitioning me to play a game with them, or to build a fort with them, or to go outside and play. 

My response was the same for the first several requests, “Honey, I am busy at the moment. When I am done with this work, I will come and play.”

It was then that the last two lines of the poem Song for a Fifth Child came into my head:

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

I never knew the whole poem as a child. My mother always would say the last two lines whenever there was a baby that needed to be rocked. However, it wasn’t just when a baby needed to be rocked, it was when one of us needed to be snuggled or hugged or kissed better or listened to as our whole world was crashing down around us.

I know that the problems we had as children weren’t life threatening, but my mother always made sure that we knew whatever was so important to us was just as important to her.

When I got to be an older child, I asked her why. Her reply was simple, “‘So quiet down cobwebs, Dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.’ You children grow up so fast, and I know there will be a time when you won’t want to tell me everything—that I may not be your first confidante—so I cherish this time that you have as a child and don’t want to miss it. Everything else can wait; it’s not as important as you.”

Again as I listened to my child petition me for my attention, I thought about my mother and the words she would sing. I turned to my children to see what I could help them with; everything else can wait.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


Today’s post is written by Liz Mackay and contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com

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