One of the exercises you go through when you have a kid with any kind of sensory issues is trying to figure out exactly what s/he is sensitive to. For some it’s bright light, others it’s various foods, could be textures. For Benjamin it’s a combination of noises and to some extent foods, though both of those are changing as he learns to adjust and his nervous system matures.
But nothing is ever really concrete, and occasionally you still get the “a-ha” moment and learn a little bit more. Every Friday at Benjamin’s school they celebrate Shabbat in a small service. He really enjoys the community aspect of it and I try to go as often as I can because parents are invited to join in, too. The service nice and taking a few moments to quiet my day and my mind along with him is something I love, but for a few weeks I couldn’t figure out why, when a certain beautiful song was played, he’d start to cry.
Eventually, I figured out that beautiful songs affect him. To him, beautiful, often times slow or heartbreaking ones do just that. He doesn’t just hear them, he feels them, and to him, all that emotion is too much.
There is a lot that happens inside Benjamin’s head that is complicated and I’ll never truly “get” it, but, in this case, I understand it completely.
I don’t know what it is or why, but I can remember realizing this when I was younger. I knew I listened to music differently than other people in my family. As I got older, I learned to segregate types of music, to keep it from affecting me or to bolster whatever I needed to happen next. There are days or moments in my head that often visually lay out like a magazine editorial, but each day also has a running soundtrack. So, I have things I will only listen to when mindlessly driving, but I also have pieces I only listen to when I need to feel like I have an IV of testosterone.
And then there are the songs that are connected to things, or people. The ones that show up when I feel reckless and put the list on “shuffle” that make me grin, or giggle. The ones that make me sigh remembering not only days gone by, but where that particular body is buried. The ones I will never play again, whose first note holds the weight of a story I can no longer carry.
I stumbled across a new artist today thanks to Spotify and Laurie. Her music just struck me, but then I’m a sucker for an acoustic guitar and a good storyteller. You should check her out, Patty Griffin. I recommended her to a friend by saying she writes the kind of songs that are attached to a person you loved and didn’t work out, and you find yourself not quite able to listen to those songs without rubbing the wound a little.
I’m curious. Do you have “that song” (or songs?) you will never play again? Or one that gently makes an old wound ache? Would you share what it is? I bet these would make a helluva playlist.