Thursday, 25 April 2013

Let's face the Music!

There is something fundamentally emotive about music. It's well known that babies respond to music in the womb. There is just something about a beat and a melody which captures us. The right song at the right time can evoke tremendously strong emotions.

I've always been a fan of sound tracking my life. Anyone who lived with me through my teenage years, my university life or even in my shared housing years in London will testify to the fact that every time I got dumped (and there were a few) I would choose a song and play it loudly to death while I wallowed. I am a BIG fan of the mix tape.

One of the first 'normal' (i.e. non-medical/therapy based) activities Imogen did was a music class. We joined a class called Monkey Music where a truly brilliant music teacher sings songs with actions and the help of a cuddly pink monkey. At the end of the session the babies sit or lie on a mat together while Nikki (aforementioned brilliant teacher) sings a lullaby and blows bubbles over them. The very first time I watched Imogen lying there with her contemporaries doing something just for her enjoyment, rather than for medical reasons was a very big, very emotional deal. She was four months old.

Since then we have been every week and this music class has been the location of so many milestone firsts. Including the occasion when Nikki offered her a tiny maraca and with characteristic patience waited for her to reach for it, I was about to take it for her when Imogen reached out and took it from her. At this stage Imogens hands were still almost always clenched. It was such an astonishing first that I cried and Nikki cried and I learnt later that pretty much every mum in the room cried. I think my exact words were 'she's not supposed to be able to do that'

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when during a song about the weather, Imogen, entirely mesmerised, sat independently for the very first time. Thankfully I have grown better at keeping a lid on my crying but I couldn't quite believe my eyes.

You would think, given all of the above, that I would be braced for a strong emotional response to seeing my favourite band live. I wasn't. I was invited at the last minute to see Counting Crows a band I love and associate with the very best times of my youth at University. A totally carefree time when getting dumped or missing a lecture was what constituted stress or sadness. I've not seen live music in years and the familiar, loud, pervasive music proved to be perfect erosion of the carefully constructed lid that I keep on my emotions. Thankfully my lovely friends (literally) held my hand and didn't judge me for my tears and despite the emotional interlude I had a really fantastic night.

I tried to think afterwards why I'd been so affected.  Was it because I'd not done anything so completely pre-motherhood for years? Was it the words of the song? Was it the contrast of the carefree days to the complex daily life we have now? Was it that I was struck by the fact that Mojo mightn't ever get to experience the teen angst and mix tapes that were such an important part of growing up for me? Maybe. Was it the three glasses of wine....probably.

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