My Grandmother, Elaine Ostergren, taught me this Swedish prayer when I was a little girl. She would come up to my bed in the room with the dizzy red-patterned wallpaper, and recite it with me at night. Saying the words with her, I inevitably would garble the pronunciation, as I sounded the foreign words in my mouth. She would correct me, repeating particular words over and over. Then I would ask, “What does it mean, Grandma?”

She would explain again and then tuck me in, kiss my forehead with tender austerity, and turn off the light.

Gud som haver barnen kär
Se till mig som liten är
Vart jag mig i världen vänder
Står min lycka i Guds händer
Lyckan kommer, lyckan går
Du förblir, Fader vår

Here is her translation:

God, who loves little children,
Look after me for I am small.
No matter where I roam this world,
All I have is in your hands.
Happiness comes, happiness goes,
You remain our Father.

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