“Baby Mine” was featured in the 1941 Disney movie “Dumbo”, and was nominated for “Best Original Song” at the 1941 Oscars. In the film, Dumbo’s mother is imprisoned in a circus wagon because she went “mad” defending her son – who was being bullied.
She sings this song to Dumbo as a way to comfort him, take away his fear, and remind him how special he was – and NOT what they said he was.
With three kids of my own, I’ve sung many lullabies – but I think this would have to be my favorite because it has a special connection to each of them.
In 1995, when my daughter Andie was 6 months old, I carried her onstage while singing this at a benefit show for the Salvation Army. Of course, it was meant to be a very sentimental song between mother and child. But when the “elephant trunk” emerged from the circus wagon prop, and flopped around almost hitting Andie and I, you couldn’t help but laugh.
My youngest, Ashley was born in 1999, but before she arrived, I was told I had a “high-risk” pregnancy.
A few days before I went into the hospital, I purchased a big, old wooden chair at a garage sale, painted it the colors of her nursery, and wrote the first lines of “Baby Mine” on it. I had complications and spent a month on bed-rest in the hospital before she was born. Everyone was so relieved, and truly grateful when Ashley came into the world healthy. I remember being in my hospital room one night, holding her, and telling her about her chair waiting for her at home. (She was captivated, I could tell.) I also sang this song to her for the very first time.
But that wouldn’t be the last time I would sing “Baby Mine” in a hospital.
In 2006, my (then 8-year-old) son Logan was in a horrible motorcycle accident. He broke his femur and was in excruciating pain. The amazing E.R. team at Children’s Hospital in Omaha hurried to comfort him and do what was needed to help him. When they had to pull his leg straight and attach weights that hung over the end of his bed, he suffered inconsolably. My heart was breaking for my son, and I felt completely helpless. My first instinct, when I saw him crying in pain, was to sing him a lullaby. So, I laid my head down next to his on his pillow and began to sing.
Baby mine, don’t you cry. Baby mine, dry your eyes. Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine. Now maybe it was the shock of going through this trauma, or perhaps the painkillers had finally kicked in at an ironic moment, but after I sang the first verse, he seemed to calm down. The doctor looked at me and said, “Keep singing, Mom”. I wonder. Maybe that doctor’s suggestion is still good advice today?
Keep singing, Mom.
As parents, we don’t stop offering the comfort they felt from the songs that once calmed their fears, and eased their pain. The difference today is, ours isn’t the only voice in their head. But we should keep “singing”.
Even if they are miles away – or feel worlds apart.
Even if they don’t WANT to hear you.
Keep singing, Mom.
Our grown children think they are too “old” for lullabies and the kind of protection we gave them when they were young. Maybe that’s true. We’d look pretty silly in that old recliner with one of our adult children on our lap! However, I don’t believe for a moment they ever outgrow the LOVE those songs were sung with. Or, knowing there is someone in the world they are ALWAYS precious to, and who will love them unconditionally.
Remember the sentimental children’s book “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw? I rarely read it without a few tears, and now I boo-hoo just thinking about the cover!
It’s about a young mother who sings to her son from the day he was born, I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. I won’t ruin the ending for you if you haven’t read it. But if you haven’t read it – you SHOULD! It is ageless.
If you HAVE read it, and know what happens at the end, wouldn’t you agree? There is a life-long gift we give our children through the repetition of these tender lines they heard us repeating over and over in their first favorite song.
I hope my kids would say this song – “Baby Mine” – was theirs.
When discussing the arrangement, Wally appreciated our desire to create a tender lullaby that would speak to the innocence of childhood, yet be able to “grow” with a child through the ageless lyrics. His beautiful grand piano and bells set a delicate mood reminiscent of a music box. Bihn Park responds to the piano with a stirring cello ‘echo’ that truly captures a mother’s love for her child. Tom Evans’ impassioned sax solo tugs at the heart, and Matt Bissonette cradles the melody in a groove of warmth on upright bass.
In honor of Mother’s Day I put together a little video featuring “Baby Mine”. This video is about my kids, but I hope you might envision your kids, your mom, dad, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, friends and more. Thank you for watching!
Lead Vocals by Marcy Requist
Produced and Mixed by Ron Wikso
Arranged by Wally Minko
Grand Piano and Bells by Wally Minko
Upright Bass by Matt Bissonette
Cello by Bihn Park
Saxophone by Tom Evans