4 Chapter 1
time to rock with Ava, I will not finish my paperwork before the others
awake. This will start a snowball of pressure and stress, ending with
staying late and being less present for my own children. When I look at
Ava’s tender eyes, though, I know that this is more than an attempt to
put off sleep.
Ava grabs up everything, and I easily swoop her into my arms. We
work our way into a comfortable position, rocking to the slow sounds
of a tenor sax harmonized by the purring of ocean waves. Ava begins to
sing, “Twinkle, twinkle little star . . .” Again I am tempted to hush her
to sleep. “No, let the moment happen,” I constrain myself. I stay quiet.
She has a perfect singing voice. At age three, she sings more sweetly than
Completing the last line, she asks, “Why did you let me sing?”
“Why . . . ?” is a common question in my classroom, and it is always fol-
lowed by a meaningful answer. So I answer.
“Because you seemed like you needed to sing. Sometimes it helps
us feel more relaxed and happy when we sing.” My reply even surprises
me. “Your singing makes me feel good inside too.” She gently smiles and
repeats the serenade.
“Okay, now I can sleep.” She crawls down, goes back to her mat, and
is asleep before I can clear my eyes enough to type.
It is a naptime ritual now—we rock, and she sings. I find that her
voice is a peaceful means to refresh my soul in the middle of the day.
We have had a series of conversations about how music touches our
hearts and how sharing music touches our world. Someday, her voice
will touch the world outside our walls.
Be Present and Available
It was a real struggle for me to put down my work and take time for
Ava. I don’t have planning time outside of the classroom. There is no
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