The other day, I started a Raffi station on Pandora for Ben. Not a big deal, seemingly, except it was. I associate the singer's music with Max's newborn days, when I was in a dark place.
I'd gotten it into my head that if I played perky children's music for Max, it would help him. It wasn't like I'd found research that songs could boost his brain development, but somehow I figured they could. Looking back, I think part of me also yearned for some semblance of normalcy, and hearing the upbeat lyrics, catchy tunes and accompanying children's voices gave me hope.
And so, the Baby Beluga and Songs for the Very Young CDs were in constant rotation at our house during that cold, snowy winter. I could sing you any of the songs from the albums because they are imprinted in my heart (but I will spare you).
Oh, Baby Beluga from the deep blue sea, you swim so wild and you swim so free....
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me.....
The more we get together, the happier we'll be....
We didn't play much Raffi for Sabrina, because Dave and I decided we were going to do mostly everything different with her. We wanted the opposite experience we'd had with Max's birth. The music of Laurie Berkner defined her infancy.
I'm an older, more developed parent now. I've been able to replace some sad memories of Max's babyhood with happy ones. Like last year, when I took Max for a doctor's appointment at the hospital where he was born and I exorcised that demon.
Songs have a way of being inextricably linked to memories, both happy and sad. "It's Raining Sunshine" makes me really happy because Max used to love dancing to that. (He's requested it for his bar mitzvah.) Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" makes me really sad. Her debut CD came out the year Max was born and every time I hear any of the songs from it, I picture myself driving Baby Max to therapies and crying in the car, and I choke up.
Raffi's Down by the Bay came on our kitchen Sonos speaker yesterday morning. I was doing dishes as Ben sat in his baby swing and the sun poured through the glass doors.
Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
"Did you ever see a fly
Wearing a tie?"
Down by the bay
Down by the bay....
As I watched, Ben started gurgling happily.
And just like that, it wasn't a sad song anymore.