It has been a musical weekend, starting on Friday with the restaurant. It was all the old songs that you always mean to put on your iPod, and then you forget about your intentions as soon as the song is over.
On Saturday, Mr. Spit bought Rock band for his new (old) PS3. As I type this, I can hear him banging away on the drums.
My mother and I went to the theater tonight, to see a performance called Three Mo’ Tenors. They did a mix of opera and show tunes and Motown and R and B and some spirituals.
They sang the song I sang to Gabe upon his birth. It’s not a particularly common song, and I was surprised to hear it. Apprehensive and pleased. Comforted.
I suppose that there was a wide variety of music that I could have sung to Gabriel. The entire text of the mass in Latin. Hymns. The Connemara lullaby, Brahms Lullaby, You are My Sunshine, any one of a number of pieces. I am not particularly musical, but I have enough music in my head that I could have picked any one of a number of pieces.
It’s not like I had it planned – this singing bit. It’s not like I had spent any time thinking about what I might sing this child of mine. In fact, I hadn’t thought I would sing at all. I’ve sung in choirs, but I wouldn’t call myself a singer. I don’t sing in the shower, while I work, I don’t sing much at all. I can’t say that I planned to sing, and still, when I think about taking him in my arms and singing to him, I am a bit surprised. It just doesn’t seem like something I would do. And however natural I am told that I looked, I crook my head to the side and think “really?”.
My midwife handed me my son, and I cradled him in my arms. Sitting on the ground, not very far from where I had pushed him into this world, I looked into his face, staring at him, this mixture of Mr. Spit and I. I looked at the hand peeking out of the blankets, staring at his long fingers.
For just a few moments, in that room full of people, in that room full of emotion and pathos and tragedy too close for comfort – for just a few moments in such a very fine line between this world and the next, the terrible and harrowing battle between good and evil- there was only Gabriel and I.
Horror and pain and sorrow and terror would come. Exhaustion and numbness and agony would overtake me, leaving me bereft and destroyed, only slowly coming back to life one year later. But in those moments, seconds after birth, I have never been more aware and mindful and present. In that time, I was fully with Gabriel, and no sorrow and pain could touch us. There was only him and I.
And out of my mouth came an African-American spiritual. A song of lament. A song about dying. A song about slavery, and pain, and hope.
A mother singing her son into the world and out of it.
Some body’s calling my name.
Oh My Lord.
Oh My Lord.
What shall I do?
And for five minutes tonight, in a theater full of people, I could go back there. There was only him and I.