Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Moment

It is impossible to describe the beauty of some moments in life, especially in the parenting that is my life right now. So much of my day is marked by prodding, discussing, packing, organizing, managing, explaining. But then there are moments of pure joy, moments of mundane life that crystallize into something purely lovely.

A few days ago Luke, Henry and I were driving to the local community center. It was raining outside. The late springtime green was lush in the wetness, even more so against the slate sky. We were listening to a mixed tape that Craig made at least a decade ago.

A song by Modest Mouse came on—I can’t even describe it because I don’t know enough about music, really, but a reviewer described their standard sound as filled with “twisted melodies, dense arrangements and off-kilter lyrics.” I really like Modest Mouse, and Luke has ever since, at age two, he fell in love with the song “Third Planet.” (For those of you who know Modest Mouse, Luke believes that the lyrics say, “I’ve got this thing that I consider my only art, JUMPING people over,” because Craig and I sing it this way really loudly. And those of you who don’t know Modest Mouse can probably guess what JUMPING is standing in for.)

I remember when I was pregnant with Luke and I was riding in the car with some friends and their young children and they were listening to the indie rock band Sebadoh, and I felt sad. I don’t know why, exactly, but it had something to do with my idealized notion of what it should be like to raise children while protecting their innocence.

As I parent, protecting my children’s innocence seems less and less important to me. I don’t want them exposed to things before they are ready, sure, but it has become clear to me that my children are flawed and human and, too, that they have their own interests and tastes. And, when I can, I want to enjoy and celebrate those things. I want to rejoice in their love of indie rock and Japanese animation and superheroes and capoiera and monsters.

So a Modest Mouse song came on, and I said, “I love this song,” and a blissed-out Luke sighed and said, “Yah, me too.” And Henry, sweet, Luke-loving Henry looked to Luke to see what Luke thought and then said, “Me too. I love this song too.” And the energy between us and from the song was beautiful and haunting and the weather outside was lovely and melancholy and we arrived at our destination but not one of us wanted to get out of the car until we listened to every last note of that song. We sat in the car in silence, loving the song and each other, while outside it rained.


so yung said...

I love this blog. I wrote a big long thing but it got too personal and sappy. Suffice it to say that your story-telling is such that I felt like I was there with you, Luke and Henry in your little car cocoon. A very cozy place to be.

Nancy said...

This is a really beautiful essay, and I think it is interesting how many beautiful moments get linked with music.

Your point about innocence links with running discussions we used to have about outward-bound types of rebellion (send teenager out camping alone for a couple days) and the need young people have for independence. I think, in general, that lately kids are protected in the wrong ways - too much kids' music might be one example.

I remember some really nice moments listening to 50's blues music with my dad.

Beck said...

This is beautiful.
And innocence is nice, but it does gradually end - and when my kids are 35, I want them to be people I can be friends with.

marji said...

Rain as the backdrop to this post is so fitting. It is beautiful to hear how you, Luke and Henry spent those moments sheltered from the storm, creating your own haven. Parenting is a bit like being a big umbrella, shielding when we can but knowing the wind just might upend it all or getcha from the side.

Anonymous said...

Ser, we're all getting blog deficient. Love, Mom