Buffalo Girls

One of the last books I read just before Caitlin was born, almost eleven years ago now, was Larry McMurtry’s Buffalo Girls . How do I know that for certain? Because in that book is the chorus to the song, Buffalo Girls. It goes:

Buf-falo Girls won’t you come out to-night,

come out to-night, come out tonight,

Buf-falo Girls won’t you come out to-night,

and dance by the light of the moon.

And why would that chorus be memorable to me? Because in those early sleep-deprived days, when Cait’s idea of a long nap was 10 minutes, that was the only song, of all the songs I sang to her, that got her to go to sleep. It didn’t take me long to chuck all those other melodies, and just stick with what worked. To date, I’ve sung this verse at least several thousand times. You’d think I’d be sick of it by now….

Yesterday, Cait and I’d both had a hectic day, so, by bedtime, we were very glad to have it come to a close. Cait had gotten herself settled in bed and we’d gone through our usual routine–Best Part, Worst Part, and Don’t Tell. Just as I was about to give her the closing hug and kiss before I’d turn off the light and leave, she grabbed on tightly to me.

She looked up into my face and whispered, “Mom, will you sing to me?”

I looked into her pleading eyes, sat back down, gathered my tired and overwhelmed daughter into my arms, and rocked her while I sang — yep, you guessed it — Buffalo Girls.

Buf-falo Girls won’t you come out to-night,

come out to-night, come out tonight,

Buf-falo Girls won’t you come out to-night,

and dance by the light of the moon.

My daughter giggled a soft giggle, snuggled into my arms, and promptly fell asleep.

Am I sick of Buffalo Girls? How could I be sick of something that still holds the magical power of sleep for my daughter?

Cait tells me that she will sing Buffalo Girls to her children. When she does (as I’m sure she will), she’ll get to experience, as I have, the exquisite closeness a simple song can bring between mother and child.

4 thoughts on “Buffalo Girls”

  1. Chris, I know all about forgetting the words! LOL! That’s another reason I liked just having the one verse to remember. Humming is always good, too, though! :) Your little guy sounds very sweet.

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  2. I love this! How cute! When my son was little I knew all the music for lullabyes..but could never remember the words. So I made up my own. He’s 7 now…but whenever I sing it for him..he is asleep in less than 5 minutes :-) He yawns after the first line. He asked me the other day to please write the words down for him. Melted my heart :-) Thanks for sharing your happy mommy moment :-)

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