Every Tuesday morning I go ‘Rhymetime’ at our local library and every Tuesday I experience a moment of the sublime, sentimental and transcendental in equal part. ‘Rhymetime’ is a half hour session of songs and nursery rhymes introduced nationwide by the Labour government to improve literacy (political). Everyone joins in with old favourites like the Grand Old Duke of York (more politics), Incy Wincy Spider and What Shall we do with the Lazy Baby (always introduced with an apology by the nice lady who leads it: ‘I’m afraid this is sung to ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’.) Children crawl around on a mat, or sit on their mothers’ knees. Other users of the library grit their teeth and bear it. The moment of the sublime comes at the end. As a final song, we hold our babies on our laps and sing to them:
you make me happy, when skies are grey.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you,
please don’t take my sunshine away.’
I can’t think of a more poignant expression of a mothers’ love for her child – it seems to encapsulate all our hopes and fears, all the sacrifices we have made and will make for our children. To be in a room with thirty other mothers, holding our precious children in our arms, all singing something so true, so perfectly true, reveals a whole lot about the transforming power of motherhood and a mother’s love. It brings tears to my eyes every time.