He speaks in music

From day one with Benjamin, there has been one key that undoes him, every single time. When all the shushing and rocking don’t’t soothe, when the stimulation is in overdrive, when he can’t calm down, I  start singing. In the first two notes he is quiet. Within five seconds his head is on my shoulder, feeling the music vibrating across my vocal cords as he listens.

I don’t wish to remember much about my flight home from Uganda, alone, with Benjamin last March, but I do remember singing. My throat was sore, I was deliriously tired to the point of falling asleep on my feet, but he wouldn’t calm, couldn’t sleep, unless he was strapped to me and I was singing. There were two songs he wanted to hear, and so two songs I sang to him hundreds of times, with maybe an hour’s rest here and there on our 20-hour trip home.

And now, he’ll ask for the music he wants by looking to the computer, the source of iTunes, singing ba-ba-ba-ba-baaaaaa—buh-baaaaaa, perfectly intoning the hook of “Firework” by Katy Perry. (Don’t judge me.) It’s his way of asking for some dance music, please. Sometimes I say it’s too early for Katy Perry, but still oblige with some Jonsi or Keane. He says only 6 or 8 words clearly, but he knows the melodies of many more songs. We find ourselves starting to sing along with him to Old MacDonald, Twinkle Twinkle, The Farmer in the Dell, because he sings them so clearly and accurately and we want to speak his language back to him, to say yes, we understand you.

Just last night, he was inconsolable after spying his nighttime bottle warming in the sink because he clearly needed it RIGHT NOW, so I turned on a little Sixpence Christmas album (makes me nostalgic for my youth) on iTunes, plus the Visualizer just for good measure. He melted into me immediately, suddenly content to wait five more minutes.

He speaks in music.

He speaks in music, and I want to know the notes he heard before he was mine.

While he was in his first mother’s womb, warm and safe, did she sing to him like I do now? In those sacred moments they shared, did she whisper love to him and rejoice over him with song? He had to have been an active baby, kicking and rolling inside her, and I wonder if she knew all she needed to do was begin to sing. Though I don’t know her face, I imagine her smiling. (He must have her smile. Something that gorgeous has to be a gift from someone.) I see her smile as he settles within her, an African melody thrumming through her womb and floating through the air. Part of me so desperately wants a glimpse into those days. But something wiser tells me that those days were meant for the two of them, and I am content.

Pieces of his history have gone missing, but he is whole.

I’ll always wonder over what we’ve missed. And yet, the growing-ever-more-beautiful picture of Benjamin will continue to emerge in colors vibrant and at high volume. While I marvel that I get to see any of it, I will honor what I haven’t seen. I will live my days in thanksgiving for the music he carries with him, for the melodies I will never hear.

Linking up with imperfect prose and SomeGirl’s Website for Thought-provoking Thursday today.




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8 comments on “He speaks in music

  1. this is wonderfully beautiful. yes, he has heard songs you will never know, and that even he won’t know how he knows them. But that you are loving him with your own song, and allowing him to hold those melodies in his heart…. that is love, and within that, you will find life.

  2. aurie says:

    What a beautiful post! As I held our foster baby and sang to her, I wondered too about her momma. Did she sing, talk, murmur to this precious child? Music is a powerful tool to reach across and grab hold of your soul 🙂 What a lovely story to tell your little one!

  3. Renee says:

    Your son is beautiful, and this piece you have written about him is beautiful. So glad I stopped by to soak in your elegant words. Blessings!

  4. Julie Brock says:

    This, you, him, all is a gorgeous melody.
    ” But something wiser tells me that those days were meant for the two of them, and I am content.” – beautiful, resonating with a love and peace that penetrates the soul.

  5. i have rarely been so moved by a post friend. the fact that you sung to him nearly 20 hours straight… such God-love in you. and yes, he is whole… we are whole. bless you.

  6. stacey says:

    Beautiful, Kim. And I love your new space!

  7. Lauren says:

    What a beautiful testimony to admiration of beauty God has placed inside us. I love it, speaking in music. Such a precious boy, you are truly blessed! (visiting from TPT)

  8. Tracey says:

    I wish my kids liked my singing. Instead, they cover my mouth and say, “No singing Mama!”

    I know I can carry a tune just fine, they just aren’t into it, I guess. Bummer.