Monday, May 3, 2010

Singing in the Pain

With eight daughters ranging in age from 31 to 18, it is amazing that I am not yet a grandma. However, as of April 2, I have a new g-baby, albeit by marriage. Her name is Elijiah Scout (yeah, it’s weird) but we will call her Ellie. I don’t know what she will call me (my grandmother answered to Muzzie) but I will think of something original and appropriate to the politics of being the wife of the Grandpa.

My oldest daughter is still reeling emotionally from two miscarriages, and my heart aches for her when she talks about how everyone around her is pregnant. She is being confronted with the reality of wanting something she can’t get easily and she is used to getting what she wants. She isn’t spoiled, but she has high expectations for herself, and sees this as some failure or reflection of imperfection. I only know what an amazing mother she will be someday.

On the fringes of the ritual blessing of the g-baby, I find myself in a church; familiar with all the Sunday traditions of my childhood, making me miss my Mother and wondering if “this is the place” where I can find her, feel her, or perhaps, even please her just by being here. The organist is playing hymns I have played, and my heart starts to hurt. I instinctively grab the hymn book and sing in the voice of my mother; not the melody, but the harmony. I am 13 again, sitting by her on the piano bench, showing her the notes as she pecks out the alto part, repetition overcoming her lack of lessons. I realize singing the under-notes is symbolic. My mother loved the under-notes of life. She trained herself to hear what was below the surface. She could find the harmony while listening to your solo. Her beautiful voice is silent now, and I know the music will never sound the same..

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