Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Sound of Music

Nine year old Jaxson is a music aficionado. Never mind that he’s just learning to put a complete sentence together. Music, it seems, is the great equalizer - no matter who you are, race, religion, sexual orientation, left brained, right brained, pea-brained, autistic or not, it’s one of the few things in life we all agree on. Content, perhaps not, but I’ve never met a person that wasn’t somehow moved by music.

Shaken, stirred, encouraged, befriended, buoyed, comforted; whatever word you choose to associate with how music affects you, none among us can say music doesn’t do something to that inner part of our souls that only being touched by harmony and melody can.

Jaxson is able to associate the track numbers on the CD’s loaded into the car stereo with his favorite songs. I can load up to six disks at a time, and once he hears the first few notes of any particular disk, he remembers his favorites by number.

With camera in hand (because he films on the way to school most days) he shouts out his requests from the back seat.

“Seven, Mom!” That would be Sunny Side of the Street off Willie Nelson’s Stardust Album.

…just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.

I had an Erasure disk loaded this week and he simply had to listen to Drama over and over:

…one rule for us, for you another - do unto yourself as you’d see fit for your brother…

If I’m listening to Ringo Starr, he loves Six O’Clock:

…I don’t treat you like I like to treat you. Every planet in the sky’s in your eyes…

That one always chokes me up because it could be the soundtrack of our relationship. (He and Jake are my Venus, my Mars - my little Mallomars!)

Jaxson loves Rufus Wainwright’s Movies of Myself:

…start givin’ me something, a love that is longer than a day, stop makin’ my heart say something that it doesn’t want to say…

And to my utter delight, the child loves The Beatles. Because this is something I share in common with my own parents, I get a little misty every time he yells, “Three, Ma!” ( Maxwell’s Silver Hammer )

“Seven, Ma! Hurry!” he happily requests. ( Here Comes the Sun )

But only once has he ever tried to sing along to a song. I will never forget that day. It was one of the most miraculous experiences of my life, particularly because of the song in question. For some reason, the child - out of nowhere, mind you - started singing The Beatles’ Because, giving voice to the sounds and lyrics he’d heard so many times before:

…because the world is round, it turns me on…because the wind is high, it blows my mind…love is old, love is new; love is old, love is you…because the sky is blue, it makes me cry…

My children blow my mind, their amazing brains turn me on, and their ability to connect to things in a way that I cannot imagine—well, it makes me cry. Whatever your preconceptions are about autism, make no mistake: while my boys might not be making the SAME connections you or I are making, they’re making their OWN connections. To music, to people, to things they taste, touch, smell, feel… and our differences, however significant or insignificant are a daily reminder that there is never one way ( or right way ) to experience anything.

Every journey is unique and we should all remember to be happy for the simple privilege of life and the little miracles we experience along the way.

With that, take a moment to enjoy one of those little miracles - The Beatles, Because.

1 comment:

  1. As usual, a post of yours about Jake and/or Jaxson made me cry. It takes an amazing writer and an even more amazing human being to take a reader from tears to pee-in-your pants laughter so effortlessly. I know it's not easy, you just make it appear so. And the best part is - I'm not freaking jealous and wanting to slash your tires because of your talent - I'm just profoundly grateful we stumbled across one another.