Considerations Over the High Chair: Memories in Music. ~ Heather Grimes

Via on Jun 22, 2010

When a potent song from a forgotten era arises.

Here is how the morning often goes:

Doodlebug (Baby Opal) and I sit down for a hearty breakfast together.

She takes rice cereal mixed with one or a variety of flavors followed by water from a sippy-cup to slurp and spit out like a goldfish.  I take an egg and toast or something of that nature.

(Tea comes later during her nap because any time before then, it just winds up cold.)

We eat together in fits and spurts, feeding her three bites in a row while the momentum is favorable and then cramming a bite twice-fork-size into my mouth during a gap while she is intrigued with the plant, the dog, the wall behind her, the thing that fell to the floor.

We always have music.

Either the dial is set to KGNU Morning Sound Alternative, unless it’s still early enough for the morning news, or we go random from my iTunes library.  Gone are the days of collecting music either in stacks of cassettes or case-logic pages of CDs.  It’s often hard to comprehend how many songs actually live in the belly of my computer because it doesn’t grow in width or girth with every song added.  My music spans a good 15-year period, a crowd of misfit tunes, chronologically confused, paired alphabetically by artist name as randomly as lab partners in community college.

As it turns out, there are many songs that I’ve neglected for ages that live quietly in my hard drive, waiting, not having made the cut to be on a playlist or on the iPod that goes on walks.  Many of these songs are pregnant with memory and flashback-potential, now turning up during breakfast when I am unsuspecting and spacious, feeding my little girl, vulnerable to each and every associated recollection that trails behind like a brimming, laden sleigh.

It’s a shock when a potent song from a forgotten era arises, like finding an old photo or baby’s dress in a drawer.

I am taken over with the involuntary urge to sing along, often maniacally, with each and every word, nuances and solo riffs included, reliving for a brief moment the days when I first lived inside of that song, those lyrics.

So many of the songs I’m referring to are associated with my late teens and early twenties, before I made the life-saving trek out West.  (Those were days that often brimmed with inner-turmoil and I suppose I am now able to safely re-visit them because I am so securely harnessed in the present tense, encased in iron-clad hindsight.)  But many tunes take me back only a short distance, to the night of my wedding, to one of many road-trips taken with Jesse or vacations with the Midwestern kith and kin. There are even a few tunes collected from when I gave birth to the little being sitting directly across from me.

No matter what the specific remembrance is, these melodies, tunes, verses, are all part of my pre-mama musical soundtrack.

As we listen, Opal maintains impeccable concentration on a button of squished sweet-potato that beckons from the high chair tray to be examined with all ten fingertips and I can’t help but to wonder how much she will ever really know about the life I lived before her.  How much will I tell her and how much will continue to remain safely contained in the caverns of music.


About Heather Grimes

Heather is a full-time mama to her four-year-old daughter, Opal. She's also a part-time massage therapist to a variety of lovely folks, with a focus on old ladies. In the gaps, she writes, sews, reads, roller skates, falls, writes more, walks and relaxes with her awesome friends and husband. You can find her at hcgrimes.org. You can also check out her—now, inactive—blog at: thegrimesfamilychronicles.blogspot.com.

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3 Responses to “Considerations Over the High Chair: Memories in Music. ~ Heather Grimes”

  1. Thank you for so perfectly capturing how music can transport us to a specific time, place, moment in our past. It mingles who we were with who we are. Love that you share it with your little one. She doesn't need to know everything but instead will create her own memories from her own collection of songs.

  2. Kiri Westby says:

    Thanks Heather! I plan to share this with some of my new-momma friends, caught up in a similar daily dance with their toddlers. I think I will remember to include music in my impending role as a momma too. Can't wait to read more.

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