Monday, December 20, 2010

More Musical Mulling

I have been mulling this one over for almost a month...trying to figure out how to say it and make you realize that I am really not being negative!!!

When I was little, music was my absolute life. I listened to music completely non-stop. If I had my way, my record player was never silent. I sang my daily requests to my mother, "Can I have grilled chee---ese for luuuuunch?"I had big dreams of trying to make a profession of it when I was an ancient 15 year old. And again, my tape player was never silent. In college I realized that I only had a medium-ish voice and that I would be much more successful in teaching or one of the therapy fields...And my CD player was never silent.

I listened to folk, classical, blues, rock, alternative, punk, jazz, yodeling nights on NPR, and even had a brief flirtation with rap...I discovered Country music about 2 years before I had Elise...and when I got pregnant with her, story songs were a very common thing for the country music stars to do...I boo-hoo-ed over these story constantly that I cut myself off...

When I had Elise, I fairly abruptly stopped singing my way to work...mind you, I listened to it...and it was like therapy running over my head...but I found my life and our now uncertain future (like we had any certainty before-hand?) very heavy...and it had weighed me down so much that I didn't have the energy to sing...

When we met Elise's open-heart surgery head on, my speakers in my Camry blew...randomly, with no warning and for absolutely no reason. I was astonished...and somewhat relieved. It was not fixed...we didn't have the money and the Camry had far bigger problems than the speakers...and we weren't sure it would even be worth it to fix them...

The peace in my car allowed me to chat with my baby girl to and from work. After her surgery she was not allowed to return to the daycare that she and my son had been attending, and a friend who lived (miraculously) 5 minutes from my school was able to watch her for me...

Then we had to watch the cancer coming...and then deal with the treatment...and on the times I drove my husband's car, I would turn on the radio and RANKLE under the songs...the insipid words and the unreasonable values they celebrated...the pointlessness that chirped from those speakers as we were fighting for our baby's LIFE...and I turned it off voluntarily...and listened to the wind whistling by my open windows...and was at peace.

After she had come home healed and whole, and I finally got a new vehicle, I listened to an excess of children's music...and occasionally listened to country...which was the only music I could suffer for years...the songs may still twang a bit for some folks, but as a whole, it celebrates common, family, struggles...the little stuff that is really the Big Stuff...

Elise LOVES music and it was one of my posts for her "31 for 21" in October.

It is interesting how this all happened...I mean, I still love music. It still moves me. As a matter of fact, I am doing a Christmas Carol each day leading up to Christmas over on my personal blog, Sticky Elephants...but I hear more... Elise has sharpened my awareness on many levels...I wrote about smell last month...It appears that I may have to hit the others of the 5 senses... I'm teasing...but seriously, how I hear music has changed for me.

I have a hard time listening to songs that value the "wrong" things. I get absurdly moved when I find a song that celebrates life or the little things that I actually see...the things that got lost before I had to look for things to, mini miracles, answered prayers, "normal, boring" life. I got treated to Elise singing "Ave Maria" last night with Josh Groban, and about wrecked the car from crying over the purity and joy of the song...

I have heard a quote that said being a mother was "like taking your heart out of your chest and watching it walk around"...for music runs around along with my heart...Elise houses the music of my life...I think it makes me appreciate and enjoy it more. One more way I feel that I get to experience the "More" with that bonus chromosome...sometimes I wonder if that extra 21st affects me and our family more than it actually impacts her...and I am Thankful for the "More" in our lives....Really.


  1. WOW! Such a moving reflection on the gifts Elise brings to your life! It is also a powerful reflection on my end-of-parenting Eureka reality. . .
    "Being a parent changes the parent far more than our efforts at "parenting" impacts our offspring! "

    Thank you, Tiffany, for having eyes to see, ears to hear the music of LIFE AND the truths God offers - your words embody important realities: "God whispers in our pleasures...but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world" You and Elise are among His sweet instruments!

  2. Great post Tiffany! You have hit the nail on the head! Have a great holiday and a wonderful New Year with your fabulous family!

  3. Thanks, Tiff! Such touching thoughts on parenting a special needs child,any child. I once read an article that spoke to becoming a parent:
    1. You never see or hear the world in the same way once your child is in your arms.
    2. Life becomes centered around basic survival needs.
    3. You react to common experiences in totally different ways; the sound of an ambulance siren sets your heart racing, and you start mentally searching for your child.
    4. Life is no longer about you. The news is no longer a bore, but a warning of danger(s) to your child.
    5. Life is expanded beyond the bounds of your physical self to be seen lived out in your child.

    All from memory from an unknown author, some 30+ years ago. Certainly not quoted.

    You did a much more eloquent job of expressing many of those same emotions!