Dear Atticus, the power of music

Dear Atticus,

At dinnertime last night, you looked like this.

You were tickled about something and kept laughing at yourself, which made us laugh. Around and around for about ten minutes. We knew at the time that you were tired, which was making you silly. And, boy, did we pay for you being tired about an hour later, when you melted down when we were getting you ready for bed.

You were worn out, crying just as much as you had been laughing before. You are not a baby who can cry and get things out of your system. When you cry, it escalates. We let it go a little too far, and then we couldn’t calm you down. So I asked your dad to turn on your song.

I have been trying to highlight favorite memories of the year, and here is another one: When we were trying to teach you to sleep unswaddled, there were several long afternoons spent trying to convince you to sleep. One afternoon, in desperation, I turned on your song, and you turned toward the speaker and stopped crying. Is it because it features your name? Because you are familiar with the tune from having heard it so many times, starting on the day you were born? I am not sure. But you sat there so sweetly that day, and you didn’t cry again until the song was over.

Neither your dad nor I could be considered good at singing and dancing, but we do both with you, and you sing and dance along. One day you will figure out that we lack talent in this area, and then we will be content just to share our music with you. I am sure you are familiar with a lot of our favorite songs, but I like that you know that your song is something special. Last night, it took a minute for you to hear your song over your own sadness, but when you did, you calmed down and let me rock you.

One of my favorite things about music is how it feels like a comfortable sweater. A special song, like a good book, teaches you different things at different points in your life. Your dad and I have been to several concerts this year, some good and some not as satisfying. The moments that stick out to me are the ones where a personal or crowd favorite was played, and the music washed over me like an old friend. I think you have learned about this already, with your song. In last year’s letters, your dad told you how music inspires, how it expresses feelings, how it connects us. We will keep playing music, having dance parties, and singing along as you learn those things, too.


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