Monday, September 03, 2007

Smacked By Raffi

I am, occasionally, overcome by emotion.
I am, occasionally smacked in the face and upside the head with some visceral memory of Elijah.
I am even, occasionally, moved to tears by a song.
But today?

I may have toppled over that edge.

When Elijah was with us, there was a point, perhaps around seven months, when I realized that he would, most likely, never walk. Of course if I had voiced that realization at the time, it might have been interpreted as losing all touch with optimism, so I kept my mouth shut for the most part. Not to imply that dh was in denial, but even between us it was an unspoken, yet understood, foreboding.
There were other fears, other forebodings, that were barely allowed in my thoughts, let alone in my conversations. (not that they asked for or needed permission)
When friends and relatives gave Elijah a gift of clothing (Tiny Boy wore the same size - 3mos- for his entire 13 month life - that is, when he wasn't in the preemie clothes), I was always relieved if I didn't spot any sports-related motifs on it. I am sure there are those parents who will disagree with me, but HEY! I've got something to SAY!
(clears throat)
If you are giving a gift to a child who has special needs that may be physically restricting, then PLEASE, for the love of cod, do NOT give them something with, say, a soccer print on it. Because, as the parent who was wondering how many years it would be until we needed a wheelchair, and would insurance cover any of that, well...I found it really hard (okay, I am just going to say it: insulting) to dress my child in soccer clothes! Or football, or basketball, or 'lil' slugger'. The irony was a bit too much for me to swallow, and I often choked on it.
Better to stay away from all sports.
Where was I going with this before I got all lecture-y and in your business about not rubbing someone's limitations in someone's face and how that might cause some strong emotions? Oh yes, emotional breakdowns. (welcome to my brain, we're happy to have you here!)

So, Elijah used to have a lot of therapy. A. Lot. He was in OT and/or PT usually three times each week. And of course we continued what we could at home. One thing he loved to do in therapy and at home, was swing. Not in those little bitty baby swings so much, but in Big Swings. Swings that went places. And because I am a music teacher, or maybe just because I am a mommy, I was always singing to him whenever we did anything repetitive for any length of time. I had a few swinging songs. I think I started singing to keep myself entertained, but Elijah loved music, and if I started swinging him without the tunes, he would often start quietly cooing. Quietly, but in a clearly melodic way. To gently remind me.
One of those songs was a Raffi tune of which I heard only the refrain in a childrens' store. The tune was pretty and simple.
"Swing...swing..swing..high...Swing..swing..low...mmmhmmhmm"
I never heard the rest of the words - so I would just sing 'lalalalalalalala' after that, then back to "Swing..." Elijah didn't mind, and I was covering the important part.

But last week was a big week for us. Supergirl started first grade and also got a library card! So we came home from the library on Wednesday with a bag of books, DVDs, and CDs.
Today I took the children with me to buy groceries, tossing a library CD in the car for variety. It was a Raffi CD. One I had never heard before. I guess you can see where this is going.
(straight into another non-sequitur, you ask?)

The guitar intro started, and I thought, 'Oh, this is pretty. Sort of 'Raffi covers Simon and Garfunkle'. How different!' and then the lyrics kicked in;
"Swing...swing..swing..high...Swing..swing..low...mmmhmmhmm"
and I started to cry. Just because I realized where I had heard it, used it, sung it. I remembered, and it made me sad. And I was trying to explain this to Supergirl, but dammit if she didn't just want me to rewind the song over and over so she could hear it. Again.
And I would have been okay, really, okay with the memory and the song and the sadness.

But then I heard this:
"Swing...swing..swing..high...Swing..swing..low...mmmhmmhmm...mmmhmmhmm...
Like the robin in my window, I feel like I can fly away
On a cloud or on a rainbow
I know, I'll go
Like the moon up in the heavens
Like the balsam growing tall
Like the tides that move the oceans
I know, I'll go"





Fuck you, Raffi.
Fuck your clouds and your rainbows and fuck you, too.

10 comments:

nailgirl said...

Big hugs! You got the shit end of the stick yes you did. I admire that you can still take care of super girl and her precious brother bubbles. It's a wonder that you are not in a rubber room as I say that I would be. That being said......... Last week when Cameron was at pt I asked the therapist if she had any music to play as he loved to dance. She said that she had some Raffi from the 1980's. How wierd is that? I had never heard of Raffi before but Cameron sure did like it.
Btw...... I did know that you from sc, but didn't want to appear stalkerish by telling you when we visited your town.

JaniceNW said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I understand why you don't want athletic type clothing. I lost my youngest son at the age of 10 months 11 years ago. We carry a fatal disease we did not know about(nor is there a test for it). It caused my son's brain to shrink and he lost almost all skills he had gained since birth.

I have the same issue with a lullaby tape by another artist.

I have 2 healthy children who are 16 and 18. Healthy but annoying as teen boys can be.

Daisy said...

This gives me a whole new look at Raffi -- and singing with our children. My teen (blind since birth) loves music of any kind.

jenijen said...

xoxoxo

Marsha said...

A stranger from the Internet sending hugs and good thoughts.

Jenny said...

Just love to you, mama.

Elizabeth said...

Oh sweetie. No good can come of Raffi, and this post just proves it. And thank you for the tip about buying a gift for a special needs baby-I probably wouldn't have thought that sports related clothing was the wrong choice, but now I see why it is.

Anonymous said...

There's no words for you. I hope a few warm thoughts help.

R/

Mallory said...

How unlike Raffi to come along and punch you in the gut...I am so sorry. There are no words, but I just want to say that I honor your pain and your absolute right to feel how you feel. May you find comfort and solace in all the love that everyone is sending you now...

mama to many said...

I just totally get that and I've been there. I'm sure I'll be there again.....and again. I'd hug you if I could. :)