As a young girl, many years after he’d died, I actually had a crush on the King while all of my friends had crushes on, say, New Kids on the Block, or whoever was in at the moment. I had Elvis art on my walls, and I’d play his music at my grandmother’s house, rocking out on a plastic guitar like nobody’s business. But when he sang this song, I would melt. I don’t think he was my first crush, but he was probably my first strong crush.
After my daughter was born, I really got a sense of what loving someone tender really meant. Sure, my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I had plenty of tender moments, but the way her tiny hand clung to my index finger—or, balled up into a little fist, left the impression of a heart on my chest, was nothing but tender. My love for her was and is so strong, and fierce, and completely unconditional—but it’s also the most tender feeling I’ve ever, and probably will ever, know.
I remember singing this song to her, gently—tenderly—pulling her up from her cosleeping bed, gently holding her to me as I soothed her with the song. I sang so, so lowly; I am a second soprano but I know I must have been experimenting in a pretty low alto range. I would alternate between humming it, then singing it, so softly and so lowly, and her big, blue eyes just stared at me until she started to blink slowly, slowly, slowly, until she was breathing a regular, steady rhythm against my cotton t-shirt.
Forget anything that Elvis’s eyes held in my youth; this was “Love Me Tender.”
To hear the lovely song (and perhaps share it with someone you love) click here.