Some kids say prayers. Others read a bedtime story. But Brayden’s bedtime ritual is to sing Happy Birthday to just about everyone he knows in his whole little life.
It all started when Brayden’s little friend at daycare, Elijah, turned 2 in April. They did cake at school for Elijah, and Brayden came home constantly asking for “Happy! Happy!” which I quickly learned meant “sing Happy Birthday to me”. But it didn’t exactly mean “sing it to me” because before each round I sang, he would tell me who we were singing it to.
Over a week or two the song somehow made it’s way into the bedtime song repertoire. From there, it evolved into about a dozen rounds of “Happy Birthday” with each chorus dedicated to someone new, at Brayden’s request. We cover just about everyone he can think of parents, grandparents, Avery, his teachers at school and all his favorite friends like Elijah, Lily, Bella and Chaise. I always know when he’s done because the last person he asks me to sing it to is him. Then we usually enjoy one last snuggle in the rocking chair before I lay him in his crib.
This little ritual is very touching to me for two reasons. First, it’s nothing short of amazing to me that at 21 months old Brayden knows and is able to recall by name (on his own) all these important figures in his life. These are his special people, and he lays so sweetly staring up at me while we acknowledge each and every one of them. Second, this reminds me of my own bedtime ritual when I was a little girl. When I got into bed, I would say the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer. After, one by one, I would ask God to protect each and every single friend, family member and other important person I could possibly think of.
My friends and family are extremely important to me. Recognizing and showing appreciation for the wonderful people who touch our lives is something I hope to pass along to Brayden both by lesson and example. And maybe I already have. Because tonight we got up to almost 20 rounds.
In closing, here’s a picture of us actually singing “Happy Birthday” in it’s traditional context at a belated birthday party for my dad this afternoon.