“You Are My Sunshine” is a song that may remind you of fond childhood memories. The song is more than a nursery rhyme or lullaby for the Gray family.
It’s represented the journey Amanda and Caleb Gray have taken with their youngest son, Bo. He is their fifth child and a ray of sunshine in the family’s life.
Bo has Down syndrome. Even when skies were gray because of health complications, Bo brought much happiness to everybody who met him.
When he was just 6 months old, he needed an atrioventricular (AV) canal repair. The dark clouds appeared when he experienced surgery complications.
The second surgery landed Bo in an induced coma. After he spent many weeks in the CICU, Amanda and Caleb asked if they could break the silence of the room with their guitar and voices.
Because Bo’s parents are musicians, they were practicing “You Are My Sunshine” a month before Bo’s surgery. Amanda would hold Bo at night while she practiced with Caleb.
A nurse recorded Bo’s reaction to his parents singing to him. They didn’t expect a physical response from Bo but hoped he would still be comforted by the song.
Amanda wrote on Facebook, “This was the first time that he moved as he reacted to the familiarity of the song and our voices…We are firm believers in music therapy!”
Music has continued to have therapeutic benefits for Bo, who is now 25 months old. Bo’s 12-year-old sister, Lydia, was watching him recently while Amanda showered.
She grabbed a guitar and was singing with Bo. Amanda later returned as Lydia began playing and singing “You Are My Sunshine.”
She paused before singing the word “happy” to allow Bo the chance to participate. Amazingly, he knew just what to say.
In fact, “happy” was his first word, which seems fitting considering the happiness he has brought to his family. Bo has exceeded expectations for where his speech would be thanks to music.
He knows an impressive 12 words from singing. The video of Lydia and Bo also has an impressive 30 million views!
Amanda wrote on Facebook about her son after the video went viral: “He has changed our lives and humbled us beyond measure.
“Thank you for seeing the beauty of this video as it bring awareness to Down Syndrome but also that music Therapy ROCKS!”
We wish this family the best, and can’t wait to see what songs Bo takes a shine to next!