I love to sing.
I’m practically tone deaf, but that hasn’t stopped me from singing dozens of songs each day, out loud, to the
horror delight of my wife and kids. And as we rear our children, I frequently sing with them, as we join together to bellow out everything from kid’s Bible music to Beyonce (complete with finger-wagging as we declare that “if you liked it, you shoulda put a ring on it”).
Most of all, all this singing carries over into the night. My children, and my son especially, had a lot of difficulties sleeping and napping as infants. To help them along, and to keep my sanity, I would sometimes begin singing marathons that would last up to half an hour.
Doing all this singing made me realize that there are very few songs for which I know all the lyrics (How can I declare the Goo Goo Dolls once of my favorite bands when I only know 30% of the words to “Slide”?!). But one song that I do know well is “Fly Me to the Moon,” and not just the chorus-only versions. As I pushed a stroller or gently patted a baby, I would sing the Utada Hikaru version – complete with her inflections. Cause I’m just that cool.
Later, after the kids mastered sleeping, I would try to sing them more kiddy songs, so that they could learn them. “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Yesterday” were pushed aside for “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” I also began to take requests. One day, my daughter stumped me by asking for a “moon” song. The problem was, I only knew a couple, and both were bland, country songs. But I couldn’t ignore my daughter – she only spoke about 10 words at the time, so how could I not oblige this little one’s request?
I went to
the now-defunct Formspring and asked if anyone knew of a good “moon” song to sing. The best answer came from that harbinger of wisdom, 2DT:
Charles. Do you even need to ask? Evangelion – Fly me to the Moon
How could I have forgotten?
Although it didn’t really take with my daughter, my son immediately gravitated toward the old standard. Sometimes I would sing the “long” version (Utada), but more often I would go with the more familiar short version (Claire). Yes, it’s a Sinatra standard, and though my first experiences hearing the song as a child were by Old Blue Eyes and strangely enough, George Strait, it was the anime/J-pop versions that stuck with me.
Anyway, back to the story. My son enjoyed the song so much that he requested it every single night for the next 8 months. Though he’s behind with his speaking ability, he knows the words to this song so well that we often play a game where I replace lyrics and he’ll correct me. The game always has a theme. Here’s an example:
Me: In other words, Sesame Street…
My son: No! Hold my hand! [in sing-song voice]
Me: Oh, okay. Hold my hand. In other words, Elmo…
My son: No! Darling, kiss me…
Me: Don’t mind if I do! *Kiss*
I really enjoyed singing this classic (of American music and anime EDs) to my son. But last week, I ended our tradition. In an effort to wrest him away from his bedtime habits, which had become increasingly OCD-ish, I decided to sing different songs each night. Actually, we’ve moved on to Christmas songs, and he’s enjoying them (by the way, if you’re in insufferable heat like we are, sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” – it’ll make you feel at least 3 degrees cooler).
I’m missing our ritual already, but more than that, really, I’m reflecting on how important an anime ED was in both my life and my child’s. Little lines of music, small bits of animation, minimal lines of dialogue – these insignificant pieces can become very meaningful to us.
On Beneath the Tangles, we try to discuss the bigger ideas, like how characters deeply affect us or how an episode might reflect an important truth. And while some (even ourselves sometimes) may claim these posts to be silly, they are not. This media, and all sorts of others – art, poetry, film, etc. – can connect with our hearts and at times, can even help us accomplish something meaningful, like bringing a soothing sense of comfort and love to a child.
And maybe all this is best way I know how to explain why I love anime.
By the way, “Fly Me to the Moon” as a bedtime lullaby has come full circle (as it were) in our household. My daughter, who had her own nighttime song obsession with “Where is Thumpkin?”, has started requesting a specific song since I stopped singing “Moon” to my son. In her still-forming language, she demands, “Fly Me Moon!” every night.
And I’m glad to oblige.