"This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought. "
It’s been over a week since I decided to write to you, and ever since I've been putting off writing this first letter. I have a million things I want to say to you, donzens of letters have been running through my head. Where to begin? Well, the truth is this is not really the beginning. I've been writing to you for 20 months now…wow I can’t believe you are 20 months old. Soon we won't refer to your age in months...soon you will be 2! I'm not going to start with the sappy how-you-were-born story, you already know that one all too well. I am just going to pick off where we are right now.
This is what I want to say to you today.....
I believe that all children have a connection with music. It's something ingrained in them but as they grow their world becomes filled with noise and they stop listening. This is not true for you. Your relationship with music is uncanny.
Perhaps it begun when you were in my tummy. I remember the long (but not long enough) days spent in the hospital before you were born. I would often place the hospital bed TV remote on my stomach and have you listen to the hospital's "relaxing music" channel. I could not control what was going on in my body, but I thought by doing this I was somehow helping you (and at the time that thought was helping me).
Or perhaps your special connection with music is because of the continuous melodies we played for you as you grew in your isolette in the NICU. I think we drove the other parents and nurses nuts with the constant classical rendition of "Kumbiya" on your Hello Kitty boom box (are they even called boom boxes anymore? Boy I am out of touch). Once again, I think the music was more for us than for you, but you liked it too.
Maybe you are comforted by music because during the eight months you spent at The Children's Hospital, every morning before I left for work, I would put one of your favorite CD's on repeat, thinking the music would keep you company until I returned.
Now you are 20 months old. Whenever a note is played you immediately stop what you are doing, become alert and look to find the source. When I cook dinner while watching the evening news, whenever a commercial comes on you are mesmerized. When daddy's cellphone rings and plays a song you are transfixed. It's the only way we can do your trach care anymore. You throw a fit when we change your trach ties, but if we sing, you stop. You can pick out a note in the nosiest of environments. If there is a tune, you are attentive. You don't clap your hands, you don't dance, you don't even smile. Your entire body becomes paralyzed, your eyes widen and you just listen.
You began music therapy last week. I worked all summer to try to get this set up for you. We decided to start it even though we have not been approved for the funding. Watching you entranced with the music was worth it all. My favorite part was when the therapist played her guitar and you put both hands (and Faith, you never use both hands for anything) on the guitar base for the entire song. Maybe you liked feeling the vibrations, I think you were feeling the music.
Music is your gift Faith. It moves you in ways words cannot describe. You have used your gift to teach me how to slow down and listen to the music in my life. We come from a long line of "doers." People in our family are always rushing around doing "things." You reminded me to slow down and listen a few weeks ago when we were in the store for the first time together; I was ready to go and headed for the check out. As we passed the music-playing end cap, you heard it and were hypnotized. I saw this and stopped. Today, when we were walking home from the park I was tired, hungry and ready to be home. As we walked by the high school marching band you turned your head to hear. I saw this and stopped. We sat there for a little while just listening to the band as the blowing leaves applauded.
I cannot wait to take you to the symphony. Your dad and I aren't the symphony-going type of people, but I think you could teach us to appreciate it. Or maybe you'd enjoy one of those laser light shows at the Planetarium that die hard Pink Floyd fans go to and are often "on something." We aren't those type of people either, but there's always time to experience something new.
My wish for you is that you will always hear the music. I hope you are just as captivated by every note you hear 10 years from now as you are today. Please keep reminding me to slow down and listen, for I have become like the others and have let the noise of life get in the way of the simple pleasure of a song.
But now it's time for bed my princess. Your Hello Kitty CD player is cued and will soon replace the noisome hum of your ventilator. Goodnight my little Mozart.
I love you,
Mommy (and Daddy too)