Lately, when I tuck Quinn in bed, I sing to him. Sean’s been working all night and the older kids tend to be plugged in or never around (or, sigh, living in Seattle), so there are no critics to be found. Five year olds don’t care if my voice can’t quite reach the high notes.
We have had a lot of money worries since Sean’s accident last year and though we are slowly rebounding, we are also spinning in backwards circles. Sometimes I know the energy of that worry transfers to this wee little boy and so tonight I sang Danny’s Song. It’s always been a favorite of mine. It’s the song I sing to myself on long car rides. Barefoot. (Oh summer, how I miss you).
I sang “And even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey,” and just as I was about to bust out with hand gestures, Quinn tapped my arm and said, “Um, excuse me. I am so sorry to interrupt, but I have a question,” (really, Montessori? Who taught him the phrase ‘sorry to interrupt’?). He asked me if Luke used to be my son. I explained that Luke still is my son (people smile and tell me I’m the lucky one, and we’ve just begun, I think I’m gonna have a son). Quinn shook his head in disagreement, arguing that he alone is my son. We finally agreed that he was my littlest son. A son I can still sing to. Next he asked me if fish poop and then he said, “Okay, go ahead. Start from the beginning of your song.” I stared at his freshly shampooed head and his soft teddy bear pajamas. He laid his head against a textile of puppies.
“And even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey, and everything will bring a chain of love, and in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes, and tell me everything is gonna be alright.” I sang it all the way through, about the girl and the paper cup and the family where there once was none. I sang sans jazz hands and Quinn and I made eye contact throughout the entire song. As he patiently held my gaze, I felt incredibly connected to him. I felt raw, spent, and so deeply in love, until I finished, because then he said, “You are sitting on my leg.” Now every time he hears that song, he will probably just remember his mother crushing him. No worries, I guess. True chains of love seem to circle in forgiveness.
There are so many things to pay attention to in this world and I wonder if the things that hold my stare are worth it. If something that my five year old said is worth talking about, just because it made me laugh. Sometimes I do worry that sharing the smallest moments of motherhood is moot. Who cares, really? That is what I was thinking about after the leg comment. I thought about writing it down and then I thought who cares? Then I remembered what a student wrote on the white board in my classroom today. I took a picture of it because it, too, made me smile. I guess I wasn’t supposed to read it until later.
For their final project today, my students had to make short videos about their work. One student defined art as “the fibers and minerals of those that create it and the purest form of them that there is.”
Kenny Loggins and white board graffiti. I might not be saving the world, but I can feel a bigger one waiting for me. Love is what I’ve got. The purest form of me there is.