I started with Duncan Sheik only because he was just a few artists down from Disneyland Children’s Sing-Along Chorus, which had been on repeat ever since my daughter decided that Mommy’s Office was more fun that E’s Playroom next door. “This is good,” I think. “This is different.” A few tracks later, I’ve scrolled down to the E’s and Elliot Smith, then the F’s for Freelance Whales and Frightened Rabbit, where I settle for awhile.
If you asked me if I missed anything about my life before I became a mom, I’d smile at you and sigh, and ask you if you had at least 10 minutes to spare, then seeing you looking panicked and glancing at your watch, I’d throw out a few things that immediately come to mind: hot cups of coffee, uninterrupted sleep, the freedom to have a Jack and Coke whenever for no reason, boatneck tops, an ice cream cone all to myself.
But at the top of that list, without a doubt, is my music. When you’re pregnant, they warn you about how your body will change, how you’ll miss sleep, how you’ll find strange and sticky things on your person at random times. They’ll tell you that you have to give up cigarettes, alcohol, coffee (Are you crazy? Shut your mouth!). But no one warns you that for months, maybe years, your playlist will be overtaken by cheery grown-ups singing about popping weasels and plucking beaks off hapless birds, or worse, choirs of prepubescent boys la-la-la-ing in their high-pitched voices about the world being oh so small after all.
Maybe it’s the cheeriness that’s gotten to me. I’m not an anthemic, fists-punching-air kind of girl (which may be why I’m a tad resentful when singers ask me to clap my hands if I’m happy and I know it.) I like music you can fall into, eyes closed, the singer’s voice making you feel all the emotions you knew you had at some point but couldn’t express. Happy, yes, but also sad, and everything in between.
Perhaps it’s the pressure of the constant cheeriness of motherhood that I’m glad doesn’t exist in this moment while my daughter’s outside playing with her friends so I can write just for me, listening to what I want. Just for now, I can be happy listening to angry screaming music, happy sharing another person’s pain, happy without seeing whatever emotion I’m having reflected in eyes looking back at me. ‘Mommy, cry?’ she would ask if she were here. ‘Yes, darling, but Mommy’s happy. The music is sad, but Mommy’s happy.’ She wouldn’t get it. Someday, she will, but not yet. And right in the middle of “Such Great Heights,” I’m glad I can skip that—or any—explanation for now.
The moment is ending in 3, 2, 1. I hear her running to my door, her voice calling for Mommy. Different music, just as sweet.
File this under "meaning to". Also filed under "but didn't".
"I don't want people to say I'm beautiful."
"Mommy, stay. Because you're the best mommy." She needed a partner in crime for the pouring. Today, she found one.
I need to do mess better.
There is freedom in being a complete beginner and in saying I have no idea what I'm doing.
Today, I let her win.
"I don't want to play with you." And there it is. Her unexpressed anger and sadness. In my head, I understand it; in my heart, it's a knife, twisted.
"Is it three weeks yet?" I'd told her that Baby Brother was coming in three weeks, three weeks ago. He was due. He was overdue.