Music That Makes My Son Cry

Surely there’s some music in your life that you hold in reserve, something that drills through the layers of carapace and emotional ossification and gets to your heart.  When you allow yourself to hear this music it unlocks a pure emotion unbound by association, marketing, or over-exposure.  You don’t listen to this music, as you listen to so many other things throughout the day—instead you enter a transcendental space and allow the music to permeate you like India ink soaking into white linen.  I believe we are musical creatures, brought up with the echoes of tropical forest birdsong bedded deep in our psyche.  We are used to hearing our evolutionary ancestors call out across the forest canopy and over the broad savannah, and now to buzz in our ears through headphones.  We search out and enjoy precise musical notes, chords, dissonance, harmony, like insects respond to color, searching for pollen and nectar—it’s in our nature.

This is a roundabout way that leads me to a small baby blanket with a little electronic music player sewn into it.  Here it is, something your eyes would pass over as it sat among a sea of baby paraphernalia:

Musical blanket

But here’s where it gets interesting.  Sometime in the first few months of life as his brain was still a neuronal lightning storm, Number Two must’ve heard the lullaby song this blanket makes—we must’ve played it for him to try to soothe him to sleep.  That song made a hard connection to pure emotion, perhaps comfort in a terrifying new world.  Now, approaching two years old, that connection is still valid.  Recently we found this blanket and played the song for him.  He held the blanket to his chest, the sides of his mouth curled down, and he burst into tears.  There it was, the raw and pure emotion reawakened.  Since then we haven’t played the song for him but once or twice, and it isn’t the song itself that gets the reaction, it’s the tinny electronic version in the blanket.  This morning I tried to catch his emotion as he heard it and already his response is fading.  He doesn’t cry any more but does stop and listen, trying to reconnect with the pure emotion from his infancy.

Number Two with musical blanket

Writer, architect, father, husband.

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