Annie eats her first breakfast with Mama.

(#5 in the Annie series)

To be honest, when I learned that Nikki was going to adopt Annie, and I decided to accompany Nikki to retrieve this child from a place called Changsha, China, I did not automatically think of the musical. Which is weird because I love “Annie.” (My family and I adored the cast album with Andrea McArdle, the original Annie who could really belt out a show tune.) It was only when Dick said, “She’s little orphan Annie,” that I made the connection. I wasn’t sure if Nikki would love this reference.

Nevertheless, I began practicing Annie’s big number in the shower:

The sun’ll come out, tomorrow,
Bet your bottom dollar there’ll be sun.
Just thinking about tomorrow clears
Away the cobwebs and the sorrow
Till there’s none.

When I’m stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely,
I just stick out my chin and grin and say,
The sun’ll come out tomorrow,
So you gotta hang on till tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow
I love ya tomorrow,
You’re only a day away.

I do this in the shower because, although I come from people who are fine singers, mine is not the best voice. Still, I do love to sing… alone, in the car, in the shower. Everyone sounds good in the shower—great acoustics in that small tiled space where inhibitions have been thrown to the wind, along with your clothes. So I just sing my heart out. I wasn’t sure I had all the lyrics right—it’d been a long time since I’d sung them—but I decided that now was time to get them down again, emblazoned in my fading brain, because if ever a kid named Annie had a song, this was it.

So the day after Nikki adopted Annie, we were all having a rough day. She was experiencing lots of gas and bloating and discomfort, poor thing. We were going nuts with unanswerable questions: Are we feeding her the wrong stuff? It’s what we were told was her usual diet: noodles and rice soup and tofu, some small bits of meat and veggies, yogurt (which is the consistency of milk here). She’s also gotta be under tremendous stress and have separation issues, right? And Nikki says kids with CP have digestive issues. But it’s painful to watch Annie try to work on a bowel movement—she’s gasping and crying, and we feel like big meanies here. Is it always this way for her? What should we do or not do to help?

So while Nikki went out to do some shopping (for sandals to replace the dress-up shoes she came in, as well as some new T-shirts and shorts), Annie and I stayed in the hotel room. I went into major Aunt Jan Distraction Mode, looking at some of the kids’ programs Nikki put on her iPad, which is really now Annie’s iPad. She had some simple kids’ games—one consists of bubbles floating up from the bottom of the screen; you reach out and touch the bubbles on the screen and they pop. She had already started to understand this concept the day before when Nikki pulled out the iPad during the long wait at the bank. One game has different shapes and colors that float on the screen—you touch them and they say things like “purple star!” And that same game puts what look like big piano keys in different colors on the screen, and when you touch them, lo and behold, they play an octave.

As she laid on the bed on her side, Annie’s eyes glued to the iPad, I guided her little clenched left fist to the screen and helped her touch the shapes and the piano keys. Big smiles. Giggles. So I played the keys at random, making up spontaneous little songs. She chortled and snorted. We’d heard she liked music, but she liked even more that I sang along to it.

Thus encouraged, I sang her song:

The sun’ll come out, tomorrow,
Bet your bottom dollar there’ll be sun.
Just thinking about tomorrow clears
Away the cobwebs and the sorrow
Till there’s none

Her black eyes riveted to mine, she stared at me and made little Annie noises that until that moment I hadn’t recognized as anything but noises. But as I sang, her voice got louder and in a similar rhythm, and I realized that she was vocalizing. She was singing along.

X2 aunt jan annieC

Aunt Jan and Annie sing along to music on the iPad in Changsha.

“Are you singing?” I asked, as if she could understand English.

She grinned at me, her open-mouthed, many-toothed Annie grin and squawked at me. I kept singing and she did, too, and when I stopped, her face fell. So I started again:

The sun’ll come out, tomorrow…

Big smiles, very happy child, so I sang it to the end, complete with the big finish, the Annie in front of me cackling with her big grin:

Tomorrow, tomorrow
I love ya tomorrow,
You’re always a day away

I went thrAnnie red dressough the whole song at least five times, circling back to different verses here and there, too. Great audience, this kid.

I admit that I am hugely tickled that Annie loves her song—who doesn’t love an appreciative audience? Nikki likes “Tomorrow,” too, and looks forward to showing Annie the movie when they get home. And we both hope that someday she can sing it herself, belting it out with all the Broadway bravado of, well, Annie. She’s certainly got the music in her.




About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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8 Responses to Tomorrow

  1. CorinneL says:

    I hadn’t thought of the Broadway show connection! Saw it on stage several times, sang along with the original cast recording too, and my (now not so) secret dream is to play Miss Hannigan on stage. Music is the universal language, right, so I love that she sang with you. I am gonna sing Tomorrow to Annie, too, and probably most of the sundtrack, to be honest. 😀

    • janishaag says:

      You’d be a great Miss Hannigan! How’s your rendition of “Little Girls”?! I so see Carol Burnett doing that! Annie’ll probably love your version!

  2. Tatsuno Kusaba says:

    I stand in utter amazement of Annie, Mama Nikki and Aunt Jan. I, too am strongly connected to the play & song ANNIE. Yes, always tomorrow and the gift to “begin again and again and again…….”

    • janishaag says:

      Thanks so much, dear Tatsuno. I appreciate all your kind comments on FB and this blog. Knowing that you were following along was hugely helpful on the journey!

  3. Jo Shuman says:

    Thanks, Jan. That was a great read. Annie seems like a happy little girl and I’m sure she’s even happier now having a mother and an aunt. Two special people. I’m sharing your blogs with a cpl of my friends (one being my daughter-in-law). Hope you don’t mind. Interesting & inspirational……

    • janishaag says:

      Thanks, Jo! I’m so glad you got signed up for the blog posts, and I appreciate that you’re sharing them with friends! The more readers the better! Love to you and Mr. Shuman!

  4. Connie Raub says:

    Nothing like a good Broadway Belter to “sell” a song! You may have another career in you Jan! I’m so glad you had an appreciative audience. Wait until she hears you play the marimba!

    • janishaag says:

      Ah, marimba accompaniment. I better learn a marimba version of “Tomorrow,” huh? I’m not choir-worthy like you, Ms. Connie, but I can still belt a song… reasonably in tune! Thank you!

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