She will have music

In her giggles, there is music. It sounds like tinkling crystal bells. There are deeper tones in the hearty laughter and in the hiccups that follow (and they always follow), a clear punctuation, like a triangle being struck.

It reminds me of the nursery rhyme:

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She will have music wherever she goes.

While I cherish our quiet moments, it seems my life with Mia has been a life lived with music. Her birth was the prelude. Back before that, I watched her tiny feet move ripples across my abdomen whenever music played. She seemed to particularly enjoy the worship at Temple Beth Yeshuran we attended to celebrate my father-in-law’s building project completion for their congregation.

I sang her lullabies in those hazy, frustrating, maddening first days. I sang out of desperation, and half-out-of-my-mind with anxious concern. Why won’t she sleep? Why is she crying? When was the last time I showered? Was that spit up or toothpaste on my shirt?

She would doze in my arms while I repeated the strains of “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral,” thinking of the lush, green Irish countryside to calm my early mommy nerves. She slept as long as I hummed the tune of “Songbird.” She slept. Even her cries, that racked her when I lay her down, had a familiar tonal pattern that sounded like song.

Moreover, we usually went to sleep singing. Hymns, worship songs, Disney tunes, “Lullaby” by the Dixie Chicks. I sang. Then, she started to sing. She was 2 years and 9 months when her sister arrived on the scene. She stood at the glass, watching them clean the mewling thing and started intoning, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.”

Serve the Lord with gladness, come before his presence with singing. Know that the Lord, he is God. It is he who has made us, and we are his. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Psalm 100:2-4


My Mia is music. She has it embedded into her body and imprinted on her soul. She is the sheet on which God has composed a masterpiece and returns the gift of that creation when she sings, cries and laughs. She’s also attuned to hearing and recognizing songs.

We will be out, in a shopping area, and she’ll freeze. “Listen, it’s the song from X movie!” or “We sing this song at school!” or “I sing this at church!” She hears music where I hear white noise.

She’s the song that made me a mother. Her movements are sound and melody. Our relationship, at times, a tenuous harmony, but we keep moving through the piece together.

Are you creating music or noise in your relationships? What metaphors do you have to describe your children?


24 responses to “She will have music

  1. I was riding back from the camp with my mom and dad the other evening and the radio in my dad’s truck didn’t work, so I started singing. At one point, as I was looking out the back glass at the star-filled sky, a song popped into my mind. A song my mom used to sing to me when I was a colicky little baby and stubborn little girl…A Thousand Stars in the Sky. As I started to sing it, my mom joined in. As we sang together I realized that our voices sounded exactly the same. These moments I get to have with my family are completely priceless. These are the moments I am going to ache for when I can’t have them anymore.

  2. Two of my boys are energy, one of my boys is humor, my oldest daughter is friendship, and my youngest daughter is charisma. At least that is how I seem them right now.

  3. I may be a crier, but this chocked me up.

    Ethan is always singing. April used to sing to him when he was in her belly. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. When he was little he cried a lot and she would pick him up in her arms and sing Amazing Grace to him and he would be instantly calmed.

    • Thanks, Michael.

      I love to hear children singing. I think it’s such a natural thing for them. Then, we complicate it with “talent” later on. Songs I sang to Wendy in utero still calm her today. It’s really something.

  4. So beautiful, Kristin. I love when my children sing!!! And, when they sing songs that MEAN something, it totally makes me cry. Their current fav: Mystery (Sweet Jesus Christ). Love it!

    BTW, have you heard of or read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother? You soooooo have to read it. I just read it for my book club and I’ll be posting about it soon.

    • I haven’t read it, but I’ve seen the author on some shows, and I’m not sure it’s the book for me. I have a difficult enough time raising a gifted child as a former GT student to add to that the pressures of Tiger mother.

      I sing “Georgia On My Mind” to my youngest. That’s where her middle came from. She asks me to sing “Gwendolyn Georgia ‘Lastname'” to her frequently.

      • I think you’d have a really interesting take on the idea of hard work and gifted children. As in, if someone is really good at something, how do you push them to go farther? I’m sure this is something you’ve thought about. But, yeah, if you feel like the book would be bad mojo for you, AVOID IT! For me it was more interesting based on the fact that I have a Chinese mother who is not those things. But, her mother/grandmother were those things. And, in some respects I think I could have benefitted from some tiger mothering.

      • I realize the book is both encouraging and cautionary.

        I agonized over whether to even have Mia tested. I didn’t want to push her out of some kind of yearning to recapture my glory days of school. She’s such a well-rounded little person. She just made the swim team, beat me in a battle of logic and was accepted into the GT program last week. I’m also sometimes scared of how smart she is, like, instead of waiting until her teen years to think I’m a moron, it’s happening next week.

        I wish my parents had pushed a bit harder, but I don’t think I’m any worse for it. It just meant I pursued what I wanted and enjoyed, piano, Bible Quiz, reading/writing and speech. If it were up to my parents, I would probably be an unhappy, unpleasant professional.

      • let me clarify – they wouldn’t want me to be unhappy, but I think they would prefer if I were in a career that made money.

  5. I don’t have any kids unless you count the food baby I had last night.

    I love the direction that you’ve been taking with your writing.

  6. What a beautiful post! I hope you will make copies of these and keep them for your girls to read when they are older – maybe even make a book out of it for them :o).

    I’m like Tony, I don’t have any kids. I remember reading an article years ago about a woman who would sit down at the same time every night, in her rocking chair, and sing one particular song over and over to the baby in her womb. When the baby was born and would start fussing and crying, she would sing that one song and the baby would instantly calm down and stop crying.

    • I still can’t make it through “I Love You Forever” without choking up. I dare others to try.

      I used to scrapbook stuff for them. I’m hoping that no matter what, they know how speical they are to me.

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention She will have music | Messiah Mom --

  8. “My Mia is music.” that is beautiful, Kristin.

  9. Love this, absolutely beautiful. I was going to write metaphors for my mini’s, but I started writing too much, so maybe I’ll post something about it and dedicate it to them. Maybe. I dunno.

  10. Steph is perpetual motion, Matt is the invisible genius, Zach is the entertainer, and Jake is the story teller. My kids rock!

  11. What a sweet post Kristin. I bought a keyboard for my 6 year old daughter and it brings me much joy when I see her hitting some notes and singing. Simply beautiful.

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