In the late spring of 2005 I took a couple of days off work and drove to North Carolina to paint a bedroom for someone I already loved but had not yet met. Cotton Candy-ish pink walls and a fresh coat of white paint on the trim in a space that was to be soon occupied by my first grandchild. The night before I left for my long drive my neighbor gave me a cd she mixed for my journey….she drew stars and swirls and moons all over it with a marker and titled the mix “Feel to Believe.” I listened to it several times on my drive south and I listened to it over and over and over the day I painted that room.
When my daughter got married the June before, one of the last things I said to her before she left for North Carolina was, “whatever you do, don’t get pregnant” but that following Halloween, that’s exactly what she did…and while part of me felt sad for her; the loss of freedom, the incredible expense, both financial and emotional, of becoming a parent, I also knew that much like when they decided to get married, they were taking complete responsibility for their decision and truth be told, I was pretty excited with the idea of an infant in my life again.
Only two artists and three songs in the cd mix were even familiar to me…it was all more of a folk genre than anything else, not something I knew but the lyrics to some of the songs became so special to me over those days, as I thought about who this person was going to be, and what she was going to mean to me, that now, these years later, I can’t think about that time in my life, the anticipation of her birth, without my brain sort of making a quiet soundtrack in the background of those memories…it must have been the right time for me to hear these songs, because they became so much a part of my excitement of the idea of this baby, this girl child I already loved and could not wait to meet, that when I hear the lyrics of these songs still today, mixed among my “usual” music in my ipod, I can’t help but think of this little girl who fills so much space in my heart… “you don’t need a preacher to talk to God, I think that whole idea ought to be outlawed, just dance with the children, the kids got it figured out.” “Go ahead, push your luck, find our how much love the world can hold.” “You’re never gonna tell me where to fly, you’re never gonna tell me what to sing, and if I end up lost and all alone at least I know I got there on my own two little wings.” “I won’t forget when Peter Pan came to my house, & took my hand I said I was a boy; I’m glad he didn’t check. I learned to fly, I learned to fight, I lived a whole life in one night.” “don’t try to control me don’t try to fix me up, a sacred tantrum is the medicine I need, take me as I am, or leave me alone.”
On the night of July 17th in 2005 I was at a tiki bar not far from my home, listening to my friend Dave make beautiful music, and I got a text message from my Mom that said, “9 lb 5 oz” and that was it. No details, no information whatsoever, just that…evidently my daughter had given birth. I was a Nana and my child was a mother and my whole world changed with a text message.
Today I am taking the day off work and taking this brilliant, beautiful, and unique wonder of the world on a date for her 8th birthday. I call her Sweet-Ti and she calls me Nana and I’m reminded when I spend any time alone with her that she is one of my most favorite people on the planet. She is love. I found the cd. I am going to play it for her in the truck while we are out and about, and I am going to tell her about the day I painted her nursery, and remind her that I loved her before I knew her, and share with her these songs sung by women, for women, about women, and what it means to be a woman, and she will remember this day for the rest of her life…the song dared me to do it, to push my luck, to find out how much love the world can hold…and so I did…