Dear Laurie Berkner,
We had the privilege to
Laurie Berkner was a name I held precious to my heart when Dear Daughter was a toddler. As a new mommy who learned about All-Things-Toddlers, I came across the exquisite Laurie Berkner Band and completely fell in love with this children's music singer-songwriter and her band mates.
Let's rewind about seven years. I met my BFF shortly after both our DDs turned two-years-old. We then enrolled the girls in an early childhood recreational program designed to bring the outdoors into an indoor open space (great for our brutal winters). Under age-appropriate instruction, parents and tots used this large, open space to shake out our wiggles and dance to children's music. Was I ever glad when I found out that this educational facility used Laurie Berkner's songs in its curriculum!
In my recollection, that was a very memorable time in my life. I had finally kicked Infertility in the rear and had myself a precious little girl, became a mommy, and embarked on my brand new journey of Raising a Child. Perhaps a little more overzealous because she was a Miracle Baby, or perhaps it was just in my personality to parent her this way--DD became the focus and priority of my life. Since I was granted this Gift, I wasn't going to screw it up. I was going to do my darnedest to provide what it took to bring up a happy, loving child. Our new mommy-daughter life was filled with exclusive time together.
Every week, DD and I would run around the open space in the recreational program singing 'I'm Gonna Catch You' and taking turns chasing and pretending to catch one another. These chases always included smiles and laughter. I'm gonna catch you, you better run; I'm gonna catch you, here I come! How can anyone not smile to those words when one is chasing or being chased for fun?
After plenty of running, we'd march to the tune of 'We Are the Dinosaurs' and stomp to the lyrics of 'Boots'. We'd buzz-buzz to the song, 'Bumblebee', and boogie to the music of 'I Really Love to Dance'. We'd play with balls and hoops and inclines and ramps and bubbles until it was time to clean up to the song, 'Clean It Up'. I may have looked forward to these weekly classes a tiny bit more than DD. It was that exciting.
If you've had the pleasure of hearing some of Laurie's songs, or are a Laurie Berkner Band fan yourself, then you'd know. You'd know her friendly, happy voice singing upbeat, rhythmic songs. You'd be familiar with the content of her songs--so relevant for little people, so appropriate for their inquiring minds, so full of wonder, joy, and charm. You'd have heard her strum a few chords on her guitar and know exactly what song it will be. You'd have already known the delight her songs bring to you and your children.
A few years later, Dear Son came along. We had moved to the suburbs, and could no longer enroll him in the same class. I tried to pass on our love for Laurie Berkner's songs to him, but to no avail. He'd bop to 'We Are the Dinosaurs' every now and then, but that was about all the excitement he let on. To each his own, I suppose. By age two, DS was decidedly into techno pop music (as in Black Eyed Peas), and, later, pop-rock-dance music (as in Katy Perry). Yeah--don't ask: it's his loss. (Incidentally, the exact same thing happened to BFF's second-born. Go figure.)
So when BFF and I found out that Laurie Berkner was having a concert here, we made a date! The concert was at Ravinia, an outdoor concert venue where families and friends picnic on the lawn and listen to the music (or, purchase tickets for the stage seating area to watch the concert). We picnicked and listened, had yummy food and bopped to the music, enjoyed the great outdoors and got a little choked up. Well, that last one was just yours truly.
As soon as I heard Laurie's voice, I felt like I was three-years-old. Despite not being able to see her, my eyes lit up, I breathed a little bit faster, and I felt my body bouncing to the beat of her songs. Soon, I was singing with her--songs that I hadn't heard for many years--just like I did when DD was a tot. DD would announce to me that she remembers many songs, and DS would chime in, too, on a few of which he had some recollection. Best of all, there were smiles and dancing all around.
The park was filled with families with young children--some in strollers, mostly preschoolers. They all danced and jumped and clapped and followed Laurie's singing directions. Everyone was having a blast. I watched these younger children and felt quite humbled. We've moved beyond that stage already: the crawling, the beginning walking, the potty training. I looked that their young parents and felt for what they were probably going through. Maybe. Not really.
It felt bittersweet.
When I had a chance, I walked up to the stage area to see my beloved children's music singer-songwriter. She was wearing an adorable poofy dress, a pair of Mary Jane shoes, and outfitted with her signature instrument across her shoulder--the acoustic guitar. The stage was fabulous, made of a colorful backdrop with images related to her songs. I even felt a bit starstruck, as I was seeing with my own bare eyes--for the very first time--the singer that I had for so long admired and loved. Snap, snap, snap, but that up there was the best that I could get from far away.
Laurie performed this song near the end--one of my very favorites:
The concert breezed by in an hour. It is the end of an era, as my BFF proclaimed. We'll still come across her songs, I'm sure, but it will not be under the same circumstances as they were seven years ago. All those precious moments flashed by, and I felt a tiny lump in my throat.
So, Dear Laurie Berkner, some things never get old. Your songs will never get old for me. They will always take me back to that very special time in my life and remind me of the early years with my DD. Because your songs fill my DD's baby book, your voice is my lullaby, and your music--my time machine. Thank you for the magic that you have strummed and sung into our early childhood and parenthood lives! I can always count on listening to your music and feeling like a little kid again.