Lately, I find myself thinking about the moment when everything changes. There are those gradual buildups that you can look back on and see a slow evolution to a new reality. Things like your kid learning to talk. Odd noises lead to persistent babble become repeated monosyllables turn to words.
But those aren’t the times I have been dwelling on. I keep coming back to the few instances in my life when there was a distinct “before” and “after.” The times when my life after that moment were a complete departure from what came previously.
There was the time I went to a college orientation meeting and sat down next to a stranger. Prior to that day I was a single young adult. After I sat down, the new guy and I talked and spent the rest of the day starting a friendship. A week later we started dating; five years passed and we got married. There is a sharp distinction for me of my life before Greg and my life after I met him. In that one moment, in that decision to be uncharacteristically bold, my directionality altered.
Then there was the day my son was born. There is a clear instant that rises up through the haze of labor and delivery. There was a moment when I got to hold my baby and wish him a happy birthday. Before that day we were two people with a dog who could make and change plans at the drop of a hat. After he took a breath, we became a family of three, and my life became fuller in a way I did not expect.
A few weeks ago I took a test that changed things again. Before we were three, now, we’re a family of four.
I’ve noticed a subtle, yet persistent change in the soundtrack of my life. It used to include large spans of quiet; I am not one for constant aural stimulation. Music is wonderful, but I don’t need to always have it on. Sometimes I turn off my car radio and drive accompanied by my daydreams. Part of the reason is because repetitive noises trigger my anxiety, but I also enjoy the moments when I can hear what is going on around me without having secondary noises cover up the sounds of the world. I want to have the space to hear the cicadas and my house’s weird creaks.
That quiet is now largely relegated to a morning cup of coffee and a few snatched moments of sitting on the back stoop. Over the past several months, my boy has been steadily finding his voice. It started as babbles and has progressed to monosyllabic words. He always tells me where his “pup-pup” [puppy] is. He can find the “car” in his “buh-buhs” [books] and tell me that they “go-go-go” and that when they go they sound like “mrrr-mrrr-mrr.” Yesterday, he meowed when he saw a picture of a kitten; I didn’t know he knew that one. He tells me his favorite foods, “na-na” and “bu-bas” [banana and blueberries]. And, because it’s never to early to teach good manners, he will say “puh-puh” [please] and varying versions of thank you when prompted.
He and I trade off narrating our days together. In the midst of his babbles, I catch more and more words. He gets frustrated when I don’t understand him, which is prompting me to listen harder to pick up on what he means. Since he loves to dance, we listen to more music. He likes to break it down to Chuck Berry and uptempo pop music.
I’m glad that my soundtrack has changed because it means my life is alive and growing. There will always be a time for quiet, but now is the time for relearning how to listen and to appreciate what makes a good beat.
I’ve been loving the Memphis Type History blog, and I recently got the chance to work on a guest post for them about the Pink Palace’s small version of the Holiday Inn Great Sign. You can read it here: http://www.memphistypehistory.com/the-holiday-inn-great-sign/