I sit at my desk in my small third-floor office, the only sound the click of the computer keyboard as I write a few sentences in Scrivener. I listen to You Are My Sunshine wafting through Whit’s closed bedroom door and sit back in my chair, quiet, letting the song wash over me. The song changes to Puff the Magic Dragon and my eyes fill with tears. I go stand in his dim, nightlight-lit room, watching him sleep.
The shadowy room is full of ghosts who whisper to me. I can hear the faint squeak of the yellow rocker as I sit in it, pushing back and forth, back and forth. I hold a sleeping baby Grace and my tears splash on the blanket in which she is swaddled. I lean over and plant a kiss on her forehead, my face wet with my crying, and murmur to her I am sorry.
I listen to those long-ago years, listen to the story they tell of a mother as newborn as her baby daughter, of a woman startled by the yawning cavern that has opened up right in the middle of her life. I hear myself rushing through bedtime, desperate for an hour when I’m nobody’s mother. I listen to Come Away To Sea, to Blackbird, to Baby Mine, to the soundtrack of those long, dark weeks and months. I listen and I ache, wishing I could have those nights back. In part because I want to do them differently, with more love, more patience, less frustration, less impatience. Because I want my first experience of motherhood with my first baby to have been different. But also just because I want those nights back. Every single one of them.
To listen to You Are My Sunshine, to hear myself sing it in a whisper to a sleeping baby in my arms. One more time.
Please click over to Momalom for lots of beautiful writing on today’s 5 for 5 topic, Listening.
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