This is the bitter-sweet time of the year when parents are sending their kids back to school... or when kids have made the actual flight from the nest. Sweet for some parents who are overwhelmed with responsibilities and jobs and who are happy to see the kids "safely" back in school... but bitter when parents are not ready to release their quickly maturing child to a non-familial environment, like a school, a college, a work place, a move far away from home for whatever reason.
These are some of the schmaltziest, most gratuitously sentimental songs ever recorded. They exploit the tenderness that a parent (or grandparent) has for a child, the fears they have for their loss, and subconsciously, hark right back to a time when the listener was negotiating his/her own passage to independence from her/his family of origin.
Some of this music will sound downright cornball, but you will likely catch a phrase that will touch you heart, and you will generally begin tearing up. There are lots of possibilities here... pick ones that speak to you. A little crying is good for the soul... actually, toxins are released in your tear drops, so crying really IS healthy.
So, go ahead and enjoy yourself. Please share which sentimental songs bring up sad nostalgic feelings about your children as pre-schoolers or kids leaving home-- in the comment section below.
THE GIFT YOU ARE sung by John Denver sung at her birth to his eldest daughter (and subsequent children who felt left out).
A MOTHER'S PRAYER sung by Celine Dion.
ALWAYS BE YOUR BABY written and sung by Natalie Clark-- written for her Dad
DADDY'S ANGEL recorded by tcartermusic . Described as the "perfect father-daughter wedding dance song"
MY LITTLE GIRL sung by Tim McGraw about his growing child.
I LOVED HER FIRST by Heartland. I'm of a couple of minds about this particular song. It sounds fiercely protective of a child but sort of nudges on the border of the kind of possessiveness of chattel that women have had to fight to free themselves from. When you read through the comments below this song you will find a number of 'trolls' with disgusting remarks to young women disclosing how much they miss their fathers, and a reference to this song being part of a TV show about sexual predators that has apparently stimulated the inappropriate comments. But there is something rather sweet Daddyish as well. If you have comments, please add them below in the comments section-- I'm curious about what you think.
FOREVER YOUNG by Rod Stewart. This poorly replicated video has over 14Million hits so you know that it has viral/classic status as a sentimental tune about Daddy loving the young you forever (or is it that he is "forever young" in his memories of being a young dad?) Here is the follow-up several years later with his daughter Ruby Stewart
SONG FOR MY SON- by Mikki Viereck - billed as the first Mother-Son Wedding Son. Quite lovely.
YOU GAVE ME A MOUNTAIN sung by Elvis Presley. Written as a little chat with God, a sort of lamentation and a missing of the little son that the song writer's wife left with at the end of their relationship. There is no doubt that loss cuts more ways than one where separation and divorce are concerned. Here it is sung by Marty Robbins-- some prefer this version.
NEVER DIE YOUNG by James Taylor -- a little veer off into another sentimental place, this is apparently James Taylor's tribute to his grandparents who were childhood sweethearts who loved well into old age, a good model of a loving couple.
SUNRISE SUNSET from the movie "Fiddler on the Roof". The biggest tear-jerker of them all. Speaks to handing off the torch to the younger generation of adults, to letting go of the hand-holding stage of parenting, to celebrating the passages while mourning the loss of the little child, and to the rhythm of the seasons that inevitably brings change.
I'M YOUR LITTLE BOY sung by the German boy, Heintje, somewhere in the early 70s. This song really moved my mother to tears, both about her little grandsons, and her sons. You can also listen to these other heart-breakers sung for/to/about mothers and grandmothers (um, of another era).
Our quotable 10-year old granddaughter's most memorable quote of the 2-week end of the summer with us when I suggested that in just 8 years she would be 18: