Today we went to a Pawn Shop and I watched with curiosity as my husband played the Keyboard. It’s easy to forget how so many years ago we were both wrapped in the love of music. Long ago I sang to him my songs on a beaten old mattress in an Apartment no bigger than my kitchen and he strummed the guitar and sang “Oh Comely” by Neutral Milk Hotel. I watched him and my heart melted.
He has a passion for music that is beyond anything I can fathom. Understands the logistics of it to the point of ingeniousness. And I remembered this as I stood behind him and my son in the few moments he was given before the sound of little fingers beat the keys in a childlike mimic of his Daddy. They lingered. I couldn’t remember if I’d ever heard him play the Keyboard, but I loved watching his rough and beaten in hands play the soft white key/chords.
Years ago my husband had a whole music studio in this little room next to his (which became ours). It was complete with recording equipment and an entire bands worth of instruments. Then one day he sacrificed it all for this family; pennies on the dollar to take care of bills. I hated watching it go. I realized he was moving forward to another place in life where the time to play music didn’t reside and that he was content with this, but I hated it. I hated seeing this part of him leave us forever.
He kept his old acoustic, now covered in multiple stickers and crayon art, so that he could play it for Judah. I spent weeks once trying to track down a guitar he had given away, to no avail. The pieces evaporated, one after the other, but the essence of them lingered in his fingers that de-calloused from the lack of playing.
I can’t say much, however, I haven’t sang in quite a long time. I make up funny songs with my littlest but outside of the Lullaby I wrote him when he was still in my belly, I haven’t written much. Today I was trying to sing Memories from the Musical “Cats” and realized that my voice is completely unpracticed. Every night I sing ‘Copper Kettles’ to Judah (otherwise known as My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music) and I wonder if I’ll ever go back to really singing again. I told my husband some time ago that when we created our son that somehow my lyrics and his music manifested in him and perhaps that’s where it’s all gone. The chords and vocals became the matter that transformed into a living child and waved at us at 9 weeks old in my womb. Perhaps there is truth in it. In many ways our son became my husband’s music.
I will always remember the song my husband wrote for me. The only song anyone had ever written just for me. It may have had to do with Seattle and Vicodin, but it was mine. Someday’s I hear it in my dreams and I remember those very few days we had alone in all of our time together: walking long streets, talking incessantly for hours, dreaming, sharing music, sharing love and holding on for dear life. I sacrificed my whole life that I created out there on my own to stay, he sacrificed his music – himself to keep us. This all brought us there, where we were, standing at the Pawn Shop teaching our son about musical instruments and listening to the few notes that were able to escape from the inner world of a parent.
I may have been in awe of him all those years ago, but now as his wife I simply stand in admiration of his resolute nature. I fell in love with a music man and he became my husband and such a deeply self-less Father. That in and of itself is musical.