When Red was a baby, she was colicky. I’m sorry, I mean, when she was FUCKIN’ colicky. It was so miserable, mostly for her, but also for me. With a husband at the time who refused to help during the night (or during the day for that matter) with anything that required comforting a baby who can’t speak and tell ya what the hell is wrong or what they need, I was completely alone in this.
Around 4pm is what I call “The Witching Hour”. It follows you through life with your children, just the symptoms that go along with it change, that’s all.
With colic, I had this mini babe high up over my shoulder, at 4pm every day…she’d been fed, changed, napped and just cried her eyes out. Husband-at-the-time had a wicked stereo system. I remember scolding him for purchasing something so massive and having it wired in the house by an electrician, but when I realized the power of the stereo, I let go of that resistance to over-abundance.
The first time I decided to try out the stereo for the crying baby, I put in Joni Mitchell. “A Case of You” was what did it. Maybe because I hummed along and the baby’s head was against my chest. I always loved this part:
Love is touching souls
Surely you touched mine
Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
Still Id be on my feet
And still be on my feet
Anyway, since the beginning of time, I’ve been a music listener as most people are. Which is funny since my parents didn’t really listen to music. I have memories of carpool when my mom drove and listening to the same Barry Manilow songs, over and over and over again. Religious hymns were also standard (and annoying because my friends thought we were dorks).
My dad, on the other hand, had a pretty killer record collection, but rarely played it…not until he quit his high paying executive job in Los Angeles and started painting (as an artist) full time. It was then that he played music constantly. It was part of his midlife crisis era, which 20 years later, hasn’t left him. The one song that stands out in my head when I think of my dad is Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rockin’ Roll”. I remember it so vividly because when we got to the age of where we stayed up really late and “tried” to sleep in on Saturday mornings, my dad would crank it up through the stereo system around 8 o’clock and blast us out of our beds. And we’d wander downstairs and find him dancing a bit and stomping his feet to the beat and singing off key while studying the back of the record cover. Even then, and still, my dad wears Vans, and the picture of my dad in his Vans, stomping his feet to the music, singing off key, singing the wrong lyrics, still makes me laugh.
When my grandfather picked us up from school on occasion, that was the best. He liked Opera. Pavorati was his favorite. He had this little golf Honda with dark tinted windows, as dark as they would legally allow in those days, and it kind of looked like a gangster car. His name was “Guy” and my grandmother had a horn installed in it as a present for him that went a little like this “Guuuy-ooooooo-gah!” He’d drive up around the circle of our school to pick us up in his little Honda with tinted windows, honking the “Guuuy-ooooooo-gah” horn with Pavorati BLARING so loud that the car practically shook. And in that car is some of my first memories of Orange Crush Bonnie Bell lip balm, my sister and I got car sick from the smell of it for some reason. And where I had my first bag of Raisenettes. Go figure. Ah, the memories.
Back to when I was a kid, I had some records and they consisted of “Grease”, “John Denver” and “Helen Reddy”. I eventually developed a love for Country music after all my time in Colorado over the summers and when I was married, was forever tormented and teased by my husband who would not allow it in his presence.
Interestingly enough, when I moved out and left some of my cds behind, he eventually returned them to me, saying “I hope you don’t mind, but I burned some copies for myself of these.” And some of those very albums were John Denver, Alison Kraus, Nickel Creek, and Wynonna Judd. Ends up our children begged for it at his house and he somewhere along the way decided he liked it too.
Now, still, music is the center of our lives in our household. When we’re cooking, eating dinner, doing arts and crafts, or if I am alone walking or working in my studio, music is on somewhere. In the car is the biggest thrill because the kids sing along to some of the greatest music of our lives.
Saving the best for last, when my husband and I separated and my children and I moved out and found ourselves moving three times in one year before settling where we are now, we’ve managed to consistently do our dancing in the kitchen, no matter which kitchen we were in. It started out with music one night while we were eating and I started to do a little freedom dance and the kids hopped out of their chairs and we started twirling and singing and bounding around. We continue to do that, especially on days that are hard for any or all of us.
Most importantly though, I realize as my children look up at me with huge smiles and giggles when we dance, their eagerness and joy in seeing the happiness and freedom and calmness and peace and laughter that I don’t express as much as I would like with them, reminds me of my number one purpose in life.
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