I recently dug back in the recesses of my mind looking for new lullabies to sing, and this one came up.
Oh, the tears, as I sang these words, at the same time so innocent and so hurtful:
You can't fool me I saw you when you came out
You got your mama's tastes but you got my mouth
And you will always have a part of me nobody else is ever gonna see Gracie Girl
With your cards to your chest walking' on your toes
What you got in the box? Only Gracie knows
I would never try to make you be anything you didn't really want to be, Gracie Girl
Life flies by in seconds
You're not a baby, Gracie, you're my friend
You'll be a lady soon, but until then...
You've gotta do what I say.
You nodded off in my arms watching TV
I won't move you an inch event though my arm's asleep
One day you're gonna want to go
Hope we taught you everything you need to know, Gracie Girl
And you will always have a part of me
Nobody else is ever gonna see but you and me
My little girl
My Gracie Girl
I think of the gravity of those words, and how true some of them are, and how patently untrue others are. I think of the part of me that only my son knows...the part that mourns the nursing that we never got quite right. The part that cried out in emotional agony as he pushed me away. The part that thought my son didn't love me because I couldn't give him what he needed. The part that thought I deserved his newborn non-love. I think ahead thirteen months or so to my sweet boy resting his head gently on my chest as I rocked him to sleep, obliterating every thought that he didn't love me, that he didn't know the comfort of a mother's heartbeat in his ear.
I think of myself trying to make him someone he isn't, trying to make him push just a little bit harder, hoping I can "fix" him, turn him into someone or something "acceptable." I imagine myself stealing HIS joy in an attempt to find my own joy for him.
I fast forward to a time when he wants to be independent, he wants to go. Unlike so many parents of the Cosby generation, who hope that their kids will leave the nest rather than mooch, we have a different deal. We have no guarantee of Sam ever "going," or more importantly, ever being able to go. We cannot make a promise to him that he will enjoy the independence that Gracie will be lucky enough to Experience. There is a greater likelihood that we cannot teach him everything he needs to know than that we can
This song, that brought me such joy before we met our precious boy, is now one that brings unspeakable pain for him. I want Ben Folds' promises to Gracie to be the same ones I make, and keep, to my son.