Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"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. "

-My Father's World

The Hymn above is from one of your favorite CD's you like to listen to. There is something about that song that gives me chills.

Dear Faith,

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)


Marissa said...

Beautifully written Jen.

Music is so powerful, especially in little ones. One of my favorite quotes is from William Shakespeare... "If music be the food of love, play on".

You bring up a good point in the fact that adults pay too much attention to the noise to hear the music in life. I am way too guilty of that myself. Forget "stop and smell the roses", just stop and listen to the music!

We too can only do Marissa's trach cares if we play music. It has such a calming effect on her.

I am glad you are taking the blog in this direction, as it is important for not only Faith but you as well. And thank you again for allowing us to be a part of it.

Lots of Love,


Dana said...

This was a beautiful post. We too put big head phones on Laneah every time we left the hospital. Music is the words of the soul. Laneah still needs her music to sleep. Have you discovered Veggie tales yet. TRY IT! OH, where is my hairbrush?, The Ester song is my first choice. Laneah loves those pirates.

Hope said...

What a beautiful letter to Faith. Thank you for sharing Faith and her letters.

Marissa said...

Jen, I wanted to ask you what the CD is called that the hymn came from and who sings it. The version on You Tube that you linked to is so beautiful, I'd like to see if I can find it.



Faith said...

Alicia- Actually that's not the version I like (I just wanted to link to some version...but that one is nice). The one we like comes from the Praise Baby Collection (Faith also has a PB DVD). You can get them at Family Christian Bookstores (you should not have a prob finding one of those in the Springs). ;) We were watching it last night and Brian said.."this music is relaxing me!" Maybe it could also tame to risa roo!! Thanks for asking and thank you for your sweet comment. :)

Dana: Yes, we do know of Veggietales! Faith isn't really into them (yet) but I am sure it's only a matter of time. She's a big Wiggles fans right now (Unfortunately).

Anonymous said...

HI Faith!
Your mommy is truly amazing. She brings tears to my eyes every time I read her words to you.

I have been volunteering for a committee at St. Joe's hospital this year, and yesterday I visited the NICU where you and Lauren both spent your first few months together. It was great to see Dr. Paco and many of the nurses our families both loved and appreciated. We continue to be thankful for all of the health care professionals who help the very littlest ones get the best start in life they possibly can.

I mentioned your blog, and some of the nurses still keep tabs on you, Faith! You (and your parents) are inspirational to us all.

With love, Kaia Nesbitt (Lauren says 'hi' too! Can't believe you both will be 2 yrs old in a few months!!!)