The birth of our first child was a moving experience. Sometimes I forget just how moving it was until I hear a song my wife and I used to sing to our infant son.
He’s grown up now, with a child who will soon herself be grown up. So much has happened in our lives and my children’s lives that it is easy to forget how young parents feel about the creation of life. But something as simple as a song can bring it back, almost as powerfully as if we were reliving it anew.
In college, I picked up the guitar and probably spent more time playing it than I should have. But it was an exciting time to learn guitar music, thanks to the popularity and talent of folk singing groups like Peter, Paul, and Mary. I bought and played as much of their music as I could, and well remember a live concert in Atlanta, Georgia. I was enthralled.
As it turned out, my guitar playing helped attract the attention of the girl who eventually became my wife. When our son was born, and we first laid eyes upon that child, that song, The First Time, seemed so appropriate. In fact, for us, it still does.
I’ve never heard it played for an infant or a young child, but it is entirely fitting with the exception of one word. (We sang, “Kissed your face” instead of “kissed your mouth”).
By the time our son was born, there were two popular versions, the Peter, Paul, and Mary version of the Scottish original, and the fabulous Roberta Flack version. Both of those versions are made available here.
If you have a baby on the way, or a young child at home, listen to the lyrics and the melody and see if you don’t agree with us that this music evokes an emotion difficult to express in any other way.