Written by J. Cohen
The Cutest Football
I’ll never forget holding my brand new baby girl for the first time. She was swaddled in her hospital blanket and appeared to be the most adorable little football a person could tuck under their arm. It was exhilarating thinking, you are ours. You will always be with us. We will take care of you. Forever.
There was a day within the first week of bringing Sophie home when I looked at her cradled in my arms and marveled partly to myself, partly out loud, “you’re such a little girl, our precious little girl.” I sort of “sung” the words. At that moment, the thought occurred to me that I had the beginnings of a lullaby that we could sing to Sophie.
Inspired to Write
I set to work writing. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation or the surreal state of being a new dad, but the first draft of the lyrics were pretty bad. Inappropriate even. I think the chorus had something to do with severely wounding anyone who tried to harm her when she was old enough to date. I only realized the lyrics might need tweaking after the first draft was complete and I was getting ready to share it with my wife. Sophie had no idea what the lyrics meant but she would. I’m not the first person to come up with questionable lullaby lyrics – ever hear the one about the baby plummeting from a tree? But still, I could do better.
Upon completion of the second draft, I proudly shared “Sophie Belle” with my wife and was met with approval.
Moment of Truth
Next, it was time to share with Sophie.
She must have been no more than two weeks old at the time. My parents were visiting us from out of town.
I stood, holding Sophie in my arms as she looked up at me with big bright eyes.
My parents were seated on the couch to our left.
I began singing to Sophie. Her eyes did not stray from mine for an instant.
Out of nowhere, I was hit with a tidal wave of emotion. I tried to fight it back so that I could get through the song. I had no chance. I began sobbing like a baby.
Singing to this dependent little creature about how much her parents loved her as she stared up at me with those innocent, trusting, perfect eyes was too much for me to take.
I felt a little embarrassed because my parents were witnessing this. I’m typically not comfortable shedding tears in front of anyone. If I’m watching a tear jerking scene in a movie, I’ll do my best to hold back tears so nobody I’m with sees me tear up. I’m not saying this is a good thing, it’s just how I am.
There was no holding back these tears. I started crying then my mom was crying and my dad looked like he was on the verge of happy tears as well.
Unable to continue, I handed the lyric sheet to my dad and asked him to sing it for me. I must have had the melody sketched out and playing on our speakers because I’m not sure how else he would have known how to sing along. Looking back, I’m not sure why I thought my dad would be able to sing a lullaby he never heard before or why I even asked him to do it. But, that’s how I remember it.
When I relayed the experience to my wife, she was disappointed that I hadn’t thought to include her in such a meaningful moment. I explained to her that I had no idea it was going to be such a meaningful moment. I had written and sung many songs before without ever mixing my emotions into the performances. This was new. Being a dad was new.
“Sophie Belle’s” Lyrics
We put “Sophie Belle” on the album in the lead-off spot so that we could sing Sophie’s lullaby to her before letting the rest of the album lulled her to sleep.
After June was born, we changed “Sophie Belle” to “Sophie and Junie Belle” so that we could sing it to both of them without June feeling left out. I had wanted to write June a special new lullaby but life with a terrible two and a newborn was not conducive to creativity.
When Asher was born, “Sophie Belle” became “Asher Bear” and we personalized the lyrics accordingly:
We love you more than words, ever could declare, you’re our Asher Bear (see lines 5-7 in lyric video below).
Now Sophie is 8, June is 6 and Asher is 4. They still listen to their lullaby music and every now and then Sophie will ask me to sing her lullaby.
If you personalize the lyrics for your child, one day you may find yourself with an eight year old in your arms, asking you to sing her lullaby.