Thinking about interviewing my grandma was a bit nerve wracking. Even though she is one of the sweetest people in the world, for some reason it was very intimidating. It might have been that fact that I’ve never really done a school project on her or because I’ve never gotten into these types of specific details of her life. I’m hoping once the interview starts the questions and response will flow naturally and won’t feel forced. Despite being nervous, I’m super excited to initiate this conversation with her about lullabies and what they meant for her and me when she song them.

Setting Up

I had just got home from a long day of work and apartment hunting. I made myself a dinner, showered, and allowed myself to destress before the interview. I wanted to go into my interview with a clear and levelheaded mind, so I made sure I was completely relaxed. I wanted to make sure the atmosphere for the interview was warm and calm. After winding down from the day, I went over some of my questions and tried to come up with more questions to possibly fit her responses. I made sure my phone and iPad were charged and ready to record the interview. The interview was done over the phone because it was the easiest way for me to communicate with her. I begged her to let me zoom call with her, but she isn’t the most tech savvy person and we had a huge laugh about that.

The Interview”

            I started the interview asking about her day and how life was going because I had not talked to her in awhile and wanted to get a conversation going before I started asking questions. Right off the bat I could tell that the energy from my interview wasn’t going to be awkward or feel forced. After a little small talk and catching up we finally started the interview. I started with asking questions about why she like singing lullabies to her family. She expressed that it was her way of indirectly expressing her love for us. Stating, “I loved the way my singing would soothe you guys and I would feel a deep connection to everyone of you”. This was one thing that made ponder about the idea of lullabies. Lullabies are typically something you sing to a child to help them fall asleep, but I never really thought about the love behind it. When I think of lullabies and my grandmother singing them to me, I think about the holidays. The Holidays are usually surrounded by family, happy times, and great memories. However, the real message behind her voice was her spreading her love to the children she helped raised and that made me feel even closer to my grandmother.

            Next, I went into questions asking about the origins of these lullabies and songs she used to sing to us. She expressed that her mother was the one introduced her to lullabies and some nursery rhymes as a kid. She said that when she was a kid her mom used to rock her on the porch in a rocking chair, sing, and sometimes would just hum until her and her sister Bobbie went to sleep. She also mentioned how songs were more intertwined with learning when she was a kid. Stating, “Songs, lyrics, and sometimes the tunes of these songs have changed. They don’t teach songs and music the way they used to so, I wanted you guys to all ways know just a little bit of my childhood.”

Furthermore, she was also an active member of the church and the choir. Thus, she expressed how she wanted us to feel gods’ words when were young. She had the idea that even though we couldn’t understand his written word, that we would grow up to learn his word through his gospel. I then went on to asking her what her favorite song. When I initially asked the question she couldn’t answer because she couldn’t remember the tune of the song. So, she gave me a couple of her favorite songs to sing. She called me the next day when she found herself humming the song while she was cooking in the kitchen. I thought it was so funny how she was determined to tell me this particular song. The song she named was “He’s Got the Whole Word in His Hands”. I smiled when she named this song. Ironically, this is my personal favorites that she used to sing to me as a kid. When she mentioned the song, she instantly started humming the melody. It was the one song where we would dance, snap, and clap before she sent me for my afternoon nap. This is one memory of my grandmother that I will always cherish and appreciate as a get older. She was very surprised I remembered some of the songs I brought up in conversation. Many of the songs she had forgotten about until I brought them up again.

            Lastly, I asked her questions such as how she feels when she sings these lullabies. She expressed feeling happy that she gets to live to see another child in the family grow up. Additionally, she revealed that she loves to sing. She loved singing and was in school productions, local talent shows, etc. I never knew that singing was my grandmother’s passion as an adolescence. Expressing that she wished she had gone and got vocally trained when she was younger. She touched upon hoping that one of her children or grandchildren would take up singing. I joked about not having the vocal capabilities to live out that dream for her. We both busted out into laughter. None of have, at least not yet. She mentioned that when my grandfather was still alive, they would sing and dance in the living room together. Now that he is gone, she stated “It’s hard to find times to just sing when you don’t have someone to do it with sometimes.” This line is what stood out to me the most during the interview. This line really highlighted that singing with us and too us is my grandmother physically showing her love to us. She always has the best hugs and kisses, but music was her way of voicing her love.

After Thoughts

            This lullaby experience with my grandmother was very much needed. Following the interview, we sat on the phone for another two hours with her telling me old stories of my dad and my aunt when they were little. Exchanging memories and learning new ones was a very eye-opening experience to my grandmother true thoughts and feelings. I could tell she wanted to reminisce on childhood memories of herself and the ones she has had with the family. I could feel through the phone that she was truly enjoying this conversation. Chatting with my grandmother made me realize how much more of an important role music has had in my life. I’ve always loved music in the sense of playing an instrument and or just listening to it. Yet, I never thought I’ve had an emotional connection to music. Through this interview I’ve learned that the emotional connection to music was always there, and I just never really thought that much into.