“Mommy, You sound like music…I’ve been noticing that lots of times the things that I hear everyday sound a lot like music.”
Ben utters these words as he generously slathers a bite of fish with ketchup, the only way his five year old palate will tolerate it.
“Huh?” I reply, mouth full, certain of what he said but unsure of its meaning.
He hesitates. Puts the fork down. “I just mean that there’s music. You know.”
I question him again, realizing too late, as usual, that in doing so I am essentially shutting him down. He doesn’t like to be put on the spot, ever. “I don’t know what the words mean. I don’t want to talk about it.”
As quickly as it came, the moment is gone, like a spark that flares but doesn’t catch.
So many of these moments come and go, not fully realized but always noticed. My Benny is a thinker, with an inner vision and imagination that he hasn’t achieved the language skills to express yet. I don’t always understand.
He gets frustrated. Especially when I don’t catch on.
This is the same boy who, last weekend, spent the better part of an hour decorating our mantle with colorful “cookies” made of playdoh, that he and his twin sister “baked” with me at the kitchen table one freezing afternoon while the space heater warmed our toes.
There are purple swirls with hot pink polka dots. Yellow stars with glittered sprinkles. Orange hearts with blue piping. Each cookie tells a story. Each detail represents a moment. I remember them all when I look at them. It’s why I couldn’t throw them away, instead piling the dehydrated remnants in a cardboard box in the playroom.
“Let’s add some color here,” he mutters to himself as he places the cookies strategically on the stone. He had found them in the playroom, and pulled them out with such authority, such sureness, that I didn’t have the heart to tell him that dry playdoh crumbles, that a mess was sure to follow.
Tenderly, lovingly, he lifts them out of the box, talking about each one as it passes through his hands. I notice his hands. He’s being so gentle, so careful. The cookies remain whole. This is my son… my child who struggles most with language, who lashes out with these same hands to hit when using his words fails him.
I notice the startling contrast of brightness on the grey of the slate.
Now finished with the clay, he takes small handfuls of my rainbow colored crystal and glass beads, and sprinkles them in small piles and patches among the cookies. I squelch my rising anxiety about beads and playdoh getting scattered about the house, as well as my ever present inner monologue about the excessive dog hair that abounds (even on the mantle).
“Momma! Look! I made spring!”
On a hunch, I raise the blinds to let in the light, and his work sparkles and shines out of the dull grey rock. Like a spark ignited into flame.
He smiles… he knows I understand.