Today was a day of children singing and playing music, and a day of me crying.
At the UU church where got married in 2002 and are these days, at best, sometimes-attendees, today was an all-welcome service designed around Sesame Street songs. I thought about going when I saw the email describing the service, and then, when I learned two of the other five-year-olds in our neighborhood were singing in the choir, I decreed we were going to attend, and not be late this time.
When my husband saw the boxes of tissues under the pews, he accurately predicted, “So they’re all ready for everyone to lose it over ‘The Rainbow Connection.'” Indeed. That and “Sing, Sing a Song.”
All at once, I was reliving my childhood, mourning what it wasn’t, and mourning what my children’s childhood is not turning out to be while also feeling so grateful to have them alive and present.
It was a year ago that I had a post on Scary Mommy about losing my brother to suicide, and it’s been just over a year since I finished Anna Whitson-Donaldson‘s memoir Rare Bird about dealing with the death of her son.
When I am not trying to think about what I’m doing that is meaningful to the outside world, I’m thinking about what my children are learning from living with me and what I will regret when they are grown or if they are lost to me.
I hardly ever listen to music on my own time, so heart-tugging tunes pack a big wallop, like I’ve been saving up all my emotion for just the right progression of chords. Today, I heard them.
At my son’s second-ever piano recital today, the final performance was from a talented boy, probably about 15 or 16, who played “I Giorni” by Ludovico Einaudi. It was moving from the very first notes, and I knew I would cry.
After he finished, I saw another mom walk up to him. I had a hunch she was saying what I would have said if I hadn’t still been crying. (What I got out was, “Thank you (sniff) for that. It (sniff) was a very (gulp) moving performance.”)
Some minutes and composure later, at the post-recital reception, I asked my friend, “So did you devolve into tears, too?” Yes, she did cry, she was quick to admit. I waved my hand in the international sign for passage of time and said, “I saw my whole life pass before me.” We agreed that there was something about that song so familiar and yet we’d never heard of it.
My husband looked the song up before we even left the church. At home, he started playing it, reading the music off of his phone. God, did I have to go through all that again? He sat at the piano, and I sat at the dining room table, burying my head in my hands. Then came my son with the best hug ever. He offered to get me a tissue. I made him hug me again.
Shortly after, he went to play Minecraft, and my husband, who had previously suspected the song had the same chord progression as U2’s “With Or Without You” then played that tune, which is from 1987, the year my brother died.
Indeed, both songs progress from D to A to B minor to G. They are so close to being the same song he could just play the piano on top of Bono and it didn’t seem sacrilegious.
I don’t really want to learn how to study brain science, but I’m kind of fascinated how certain patterns move us and the layering of that emotion based on accessing past feelings and states of being.
Gratitude about our relationship is something I am struggling with lately, but there is no doubt that my husband brings dimension to my life and helps me see – and hear – things I would otherwise miss.
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