The Red Dress Club: By Heart

Na-ad-ned, na-ad-ned. The song escapes my lips. The voice and the lilt are just as I remember. For this small moment I sound exactly like my Mother.

My daughter’s belly laugh rings in my ears and breaks me away from the memory. I trade in a sound from my past for one from my present.

Chloe is two years old. Her chubby thighs betray the deliciousness of toddlerhood. My own legs, standing strong behind her, betray the worries of motherhood.

My feet plant firmly in damp soil. I breathe in freshly mowed grass. My sunglasses perch on top of my head. My skin is sun-kissed. And the steam from my coffee is just out of reach.

I take in the too early morning and give Chloe another push. Her baby swing flies “high.” Her squeals fill me up.

As my hand touches her back, I warm through and want nothing more than to scoop her up and hold her close.

But instead, I do the exact opposite. I push her a little higher, a little harder. And the words escape my lips once again. Na-ad-ned. Na-ad-ned.

I’m brought right back into sweltering Israeli heat. I’m at a park with my own Mother. My hand fits neatly in hers.

She was slight, feisty and surprisingly strong. She still is. Her pushes made me fly. Na-ad-ned is what she sang as I breezed by.

Today I sing Na-ad-ned to my own children.

I use the same tone and the same beat that my memory strings grasp onto, but I attempt to replace my Mother’s song with words that they understand.

Back and forth. Up and down.

This edges wrong in all of our ears.

So I seamlessly slip back into Na-ad-ned as I give my children pushes into the trees, into the sky, into the “up high.”

We are thousands of miles and a world and a half away, but my hand presses their backs just as my Mother’s pressed mine.

 

RemembeRED is a memoir meme. This week’s prompt is to remember what, from your childhood, do you still know by heart? Constructive criticism is always welcome.

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Comments

  1. Oh, loved it! I love that trying to change the words to English makes it sound wrong.

    To this day I tell my boys at the dinner table, “Mangia e statti zitto!” because my Italian grandma (and her son, my dad), would say that if we were talking instead of eating. Saying “Shut up and eat” would be rude, but in Italian it’s OK. LOL

  2. What a sweet, sweet memory, Galit. And one you can relive with your children, that’s awesome. xoxo

  3. I had to scour my bad Jew mind to see if this was a prayer I should have easily recognized…whew. A lovely memory Galit!

  4. For fear of losing any more ‘man points’ this week, I won’t say this is sweet. (Ok, it is, but shush.) Your stories always come to life in the minds eye, Galit. I should take lessons. :)

    And I assume that na-ad-ned means “up high”? Did, I read that correctly?

    • Man points only gained friend. Thanks for the words.

      And yes, you read it right! It was like a chant (not in a creepy way).

      Now onto important matters: How are my commas?! :)

  5. You always have the words to bring me right there, and to make me think of times of swinging with my kids, and when I was a kid! So sweet, I hope they remember this time as you do!

  6. Such beautifully imagery Galit. I love this. I could hear it too. Beautiful.

  7. I’ve never heard this song before but this is a great post about a moment from your childhood that you share with your children.

  8. How sweetly written. What a wonderful way to bring a memory from your childhood to life with your own children. Loved this, Galit!

  9. I like how you used the foreign language to create tension in the piece. And you did a nice job of creating emotion without being over sentimental. Unlike Brandon, I don’t have to worry about dude points so I’ll go ahead and say it’s a sweet piece that is well written. Nice job.

  10. So beautiful. Your childhood ex;periences that you’ve written about lately are in some ways so similar to mine, yet you lived half a world away. I love that. I love that moments of childhood can be the same, even when cultures and religions and environment are so different.

  11. The edges wrong in all our ears. How lovely! I really like that you don’t have a problem sounding like your mother – A lot of mothers do. I can feel your daughter’s straight little back as you push her in the swing.

  12. This brings such beautiful imagery to my mind, of your life as a child and of the life that you are giving your children. Beautiful as only you can do, Galit.

  13. Oh Galit – your writing is amazing. Taking my breath away with each word…xoxo

  14. I think as mothers we all want that; to recreate those special moments with our mothers and give those gifts to our children. Wonderful as always Galit!

  15. As always Galit, you writing is captivating. You have this great gift of melding the past and the present often seamlessly. Beautiful!

  16. thank you for this glimpse into your life, the hearkening back to your childhood and how in your mind you can hear both your mother and the sound of you sounding like your mother. Such tenderness and so much communicated in this seconds-long look that it takes to swing back and forth pushing a small back :)

  17. Carrying on simple traditions is a wonderful way to share your legacy. I love the flow of your words.

  18. You are incredible. I was standing in your moment with you. Wonderful imagery and such a tender moment. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Wonderful, I love that your culture is wedged in your memories, intertwined enough to teach your children their heritage naturally.

  20. I do love your verbal brushstrokes. The marks of a life fully lives are all over you and your writing, and the way you bring that life alive on the page is a wonder to me. Every time.

  21. Ooh ooh! Yay! I get to say it because I don’t think anyone else did.

    This line was the perfect thread with which to finish your tapestry:

    “We are thousands of miles and a world and a half away, but my hand presses their backs just as my Mother’s pressed mine.”

    I’m not the sewing type, so if a people don’t use thread to weave a tapestry, I apologize.

    But it doesn’t matter. Because you? Use words.

    Love.

  22. Why don’t I know this song?

    What a beautiful memory of you and your mom and a wonderful way to pass along a tradition to your child. You describe everything so beautifully. Great post, my friend.

  23. With your words, I am always right there next to you, not just with the scene but the feelings too. This piece filled me with such peace but also longing. Nicely done!

  24. I love that the structure of the piece has the same feel as being pushed on a swing. You seamlessly flow between your present and your past here, swinging between Chloe and your mother twice. Your love for them both, expressed most clearly through the description of Chloe’s chubby toddler thighs and your fight to resist scooping her up and hugging her, and your memory of your hand in your small but strong mother’s hand, rings so loudly that you almost become an object rather than the narrator.

    This captured perfectly the essence of nostalgia that permeates happy if lost moments.

  25. Amazing. Every prompt you bring to life. I loved this. Simple and sweet!

  26. Its the simple acts that we remember most. I found myself only remembering those things too. Lovely story :)

  27. Oh, I love that. Such a sweet, peaceful memory.

  28. simply beautiful. love the elegant description of this perfect moment. I sing my daughter Hashkiveinu every night before she falls asleep because it was sung to me in my childhood. Something about the continuity makes it all the more precious.

  29. How do you do it? So simple but always touches my heart. You beautiful author, you. Swinging is like meditation. I want one just my size! Then my kids and I can swing together forever:)

  30. you make me cry every.single.time.

    I love thinking of your hand on her back, just like your moms on yours. What a gorgeous memory you let us sneak a peak at :)

    xo

  31. Beautiful!! I agree with AmyBeth…I skipped to yours first too :)

  32. Beautiful! I love the imagery and the connection between past and present.

  33. I love when you write about Israel – even though this wasn’t “about” Israel, I love how you connected the present of this post to that time in your life. Very beautiful!

  34. I was transported into your world – both past & present at the same time. That was poetic. So glad I came by to read it! Thumbs up.

  35. Such a sweet piece!

  36. when my 7 yr old was a baby I sang her Beatles songs because i didn’t know any lullabies or kids tunes. when she started talking she would say “daddy, let’s sing the octopus drinking lemonade one” – Octopus’ Garden …this reminded me of that..thanks

  37. Oh Galit, another beautifully told peek into your world. I so want to hear this song!
    There is a part of the mass that is sung in 3 parts, in Latin that my mother, sister and I would sing together anytime the 3 of us were together. I now sing it to my daughter and think of them. Thank you for reminding me of that sweetness.

  38. I really enjoy reading your posts for the prompts from Red Dress Club. The imagery, the words, and the way that you weave them into the posts are great.

    It’s a beautiful memory of going to the park with your mom and how it’s woven into the memories that you’re making with your kids when you go to the park.

  39. I think my favorite part is where you talk about wanting to gather her close but instead continue to push her higher and higher. It’s kind of the epitome of motherhood, to me, that desire to keep them close but wanting to help them soar higher and higher.

    And of course it’s never the same translated, so I think it’s perfect that you carry on the memory just as you lived it yourself.

  40. I love the details here (the steam of my coffee just out of reach), but I also appreciated the rhythm of the lines. I could picture being there.

  41. This is beautiful. I love how you have tried to bring them the same experience that you had. The symmetry–in life and the post–is gorgeous.

    And the deliciousness of toddlerhood is awesome. Perfect.

  42. Ooh Galit, I like! In the first line, I was trying to pronounce what you were singing – trying to figure out the rhythm in my own “Blogger’s Name That Tune” game. I got nothin’ and finally gave up to read the rest of the story. 😉 I loved the parallels of this story. It is beautiful.

  43. The more I read of you, the more I am impressed. You write with this deep simplicity, and your words flow from moment to moment with such ease. Since I am a newbie around here, I did not know your cultural background. I am so glad you hold it, carry it and share it with your children. A beautiful memory glued together to the present making of memory. Looking forward to reading and learning more about you!

  44. So beautiful. I love the last lines: “We are thousands of miles and a world and a half away, but my hand presses their backs just as my Mother’s pressed mine.” So perfect.

  45. what a fantastic memory Galit!
    Such a wonderful thing to be able to share your heritage with your children. And I loved that the words in English didn’t sound right. It’s funny how that happens…. and also funny how sometimes we notice, with a smile of course, that we sound JUST like our mothers!!

  46. Miss Breen…I thank you for the lovely compliments on my blog. :) I appreciate them more than you could imagine!!! Your writing rox as well!

  47. Beautifully written, very evocative, made me smile ,remembering my own full circle :)
    Thanks for visiting my blog :)

  48. This made me smile. On my face and in my heart. Never change the words. They are perfect.

  49. Oh, swoon! Swoon, swoon, swoon, dear Galit.

    You paint the most glorious pictures. They are soft to the touch, and warm, so warm.

    They are memories and motherhood and they are beautiful.

    As are you, honey.

    xxx

  50. completely lovely. love the marriage of past and present, of your two cultures. so sweetly told!

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