Music to dream by - FamilyEducation

Music to dream by

July 15,2010
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

I took T. with me to a dental appointment on Monday. She asked to go, actually. She has a loose front tooth and she was dying to show it to C., our wonderful dental hygienist who has known T. since she was a baby. C. was very impressed with the front tooth, and pronounced it ready to come out any moment. To T.'s disappointment, though, it's still there. "I thought just GOING there would make it come out," she said, as we pulled out of the parking lot. On our way back home we stopped at a thrift store around the corner, to hunt down a couple of CDs Scott had spotted there earlier in the day when he'd gone to his own dental appointment (we completely independently, and coincidentally, scheduled our appointments for the same exact day). While I sorted through the messy bins of CDs, I came across two copies of Enya's Shepherd Moons. We have our own copy on CD at home but still, I weighed the case in my hand and smiled, so tempted to buy it then and there just so I could listen in the car again. ************* When L. was a baby we'd walk him to sleep with Shepherd Moons playing on repeat mode over and over again from my old Sony boom box. When L. would finally give it up to sleep we'd ease him onto our bed and lie next to him, scarcely daring to breathe lest the spell be broken and L. would awaken, fussy and the whole pantomime would begin all over again. Later that day, at bedtime, I put the CD in for the first time in awhile. I was curious if L. would have some unconscious connection to the music we used to play so much when he was a baby. I was transported back in time to our little Rochester apartment. I remembered exactly which moves I used to make to each song, and what it felt like to hold L.'s baby weight in my arms, his head bobbing up and down, his eyelids fluttering, until his head would sink into my shoulder. My eyes welled a little with tears at the memory. I think I'm a bit of an emotional mess these days. I told L. the story of that well-worn CD and his sleep. "I guess that's why I love sleeping to music so much," he said. We listened for a few more minutes. "You know, Mama?" "What?" "I'm going to listen to music when I sleep for the REST of my life." "You are?" "Yes. Even when I'm married, I'm going to buy a pair of wireless headphones and fall asleep at night listening to music." And that very image: of my L. as a grown-up man, lying in the dark next to someone who will love and understand him, this complicated, brilliant, and sometimes impossible boy of ours, made me really want to cry.