Music takes me by the hand and leads me places. Most of the time I enjoy the journey but sometimes a song will take me to a place or time I've tried to forget.
Yesterday morning I settled in at my drums for my one-song-a-day ritual. Earplugs in place, I pushed the button on my (not an) iPod, tucked it into my shorts waistband and picked up the drumsticks just as the next song streamed into my head.
With just the first few notes, I was whooshed back in time to stormy days - days when my kids were dealing with the wrenching emotions of their teenage years ... days when my heart ached until I thought it would break for them ... days spent worrying and wondering ... days spent on my knees praying ... and suddenly I was crying, overwhelmed by the memories.
When you become a mom, suddenly your heart is outside of your body, vulnerable and exposed; my heart has had its share of bumps and bruises, but it took some real beatings during those years. My tears fell from memories of the pain and fear and worry, but also from gratitude and relief. Here we are, almost ten years later, all of it behind us. We survived. Many parents - many kids - don't.
The song itself is a song of survival and hope - a reminder of how thin the thread of life is, how sometimes attitude and perception are what kill us or save us. The first time I heard it, in the car with Tommy, I told him I didn't like it - I thought it was a kid singing about his own suicide and that worried me. One line, especially, got me: "Please tell mom this is not her fault."
No, mom, Tommy told me, he doesn't do it. Listen...
Sure enough, the kid is describing a botched attempt, expressing relief that it didn't work, that he didn't die, an awareness of how precious life is and hope in the future. It ended up becoming one of my favorite songs.
And now it makes me cry.