When my husband and I were planning our wedding more than 32 years ago, settling on our wedding song was a no-brainer: “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin it simply had to be.

The pastor who would conduct our coming together as one didn’t agree. At all. In fact, he flat out told us, “I will puke if you play that for your wedding.” I kid you not.

As my hubby-to-be and I still hoped the potentially puking pastor might still preside over our marriage ceremony, we agreed to have his suggested — and far more traditional — “The Wedding Song” by Paul Stookey played. Not willing to give in completely, though, we recruited my sister to recite a poem after our vows, that poem being the lyrics to “Thank You.” To us, those words and that song were the real soundtrack for our day.

Right from the beginning of my life as a wife, mother and, eventually, grandmother, it was clear the music that resonated with me most wouldn’t be the most traditional. Might even make others puke.

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When my three daughters were born in the early to mid ‘80s, all in rapid succession, there were Raffi and Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock melodies to mark our days. My overall spot-on sentiment for my girls then, though, was — and still is — encapsulated by the words of non-traditional mother Sinead O’Connor in “Three Babies.”

Years later, with the arrival of my first grandson in 2008, courtesy my middle daughter and her husband, I became a grandmother. “Gramma,” I would be dubbed. Despite mile-long playlists of lullabies and lovey-dovey tunes for tots, it was James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” that most struck a chord with me, felt like THE song for my sweet baby grandson — whose name perfectly fit into the lines of the chorus.*

Along came my second grandson exactly three years later. (Ah, my perfectionist daughter perfectly planned the pregnancy of Baby No. 2.) This grandchild — a rambunctious, rough-and-tumble go-getter from the get-go — deserved a more manic theme song in Grandma’s heart. Like his big brother, my second grandson’s name fits perfectly into the chorus of this song that fits him and his crazy, happy, playfully power-packed personality: the very non-traditional “Can-Can” from the film “Moulin Rouge.”

Of course, I never share that video with my grandson, just the frenetic fun.

My daughter continued her perfectionist ways and this past June she and her hubby presented Grandbaby No. 3 — exactly three years after Grandbaby No. 2 and six years after Grandbaby No. 1. For this huggable little love bug, there’s no better tune than Raffi’s latest: “Love Bug,” traditional though it may be.

Oh, my. It’s now frightfully clear I’ve become more grandma-like, more traditional in my familial soundtrack selections in these golden years of mine.

So be it. I can think of far more puke-worthy things a grandma might become. 

*Per an agreement with my daughter, I never share the real names of my grandsons online. Believe me, though: Their real names indeed fit perfectly into the lyrics.


Lisa is a Colorado-based freelance writer. She publishes the Grandma's Briefs website, where she shares bits on life's second act and strives to smash the outdated "grandma" stereotype. Lisa has been married to the same man forever; together they have three adult daughters, one son-in-law and three adorable grandsons — children of the middle daughter and her husband. Lisa is easy to find online as she's known as GrandmasBriefs wherever she goes: Twitter (@grandmasbriefs), Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere.