For almost all my life, I’ve been the person who turned the music on. As a girl, growing up, music was played much more often once I figured out how to make it go. I still remember fondly all 6 of the CDs we owned, seared into my hind-mind as they are. When I graduated, I secretly absconded with all my favorite CDs. (Note to parents everywhere: check what your kid packs to college, especially when they’re going 3000 miles away and will never ever actually return with their possessions.) The music and NPR always played in my dorm room, eventually joined by baseball broadcasts. In my own home, I have complete ownership over the sound system. If it’s on, chances are over 90% it’s because I turned them on.
So it’s interesting to notice my sons gradually taking control over their own soundscape. Each has a CD player in their room. Grey is vert interested in what it plays, and will make careful choices among his handful of CDs. He loves Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence, but thinks Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is too scary. And he’s started to form his own opinions about what he likes, what he wants to listen to. I’m sure there will be a moment in the future when I have to compromise the music played in our public space. I’m hoping to avoid sharing as long as possible, however, because my music is better. Ahem.
Anyway, this year for the first time, Grey has a favorite Christmas carol. What do you think it is? Maybe Rudolf? Grey went Christmas carolling with the church group this year (as our official bell-ringer – he refused to sing) and Rudolf was his request, but no. It’s not a kid’s song. Perhaps the Carol of the Bells on the traditional side? Or Joy To the World? Or “Darcy the Dragon” which is MY favorite Christmas song? (Kind of.)
Nope. Grey’s favorite Christmas song is The Kingston Trio’s Mary Mild, from the Last Month of the Year. It is such a joy to see him decide this on his own. While that song is certainly in heavy circulation (“The Last Month of the Year” is my husband’s favorite Christmas album), that song isn’t in my top 50 list. I’d hardly paid much attention to it, other than pondering its apocryphal origins. But he loves it. He sings it. He requests it at night time.
I know that my choices create the soundscape in which my sons grow up. They seem so young, so clearly under my purview. But already, they love things that I like. They notice things that escaped my notice. They hear things with fresh ears and reach different conclusions. I have set the foundations, but the house they build upon it will be all theirs.
“Go up the hill,” His mother said, “and there you will find three jolly children.
But let me hear no complaint of You when You come home again.”