Friday, June 11, 2010

Cinema Paradiso

Pink Flower

We had a busy morning. It was effectively the first day of summer. Preschool ended yesterday and they start two weeks of summer camp on Monday. But today was a day reserved just for us to hang out as a trio. We rode bikes downtown. Went to the post office. Got coffee/chocolate milk. Watched trains. Went to the bank to deposit $26.25 that he saved in his piggy bank. It was a busy, but enjoyable morning.

We returned home for lunch and my daughter went down for her nap. My son decided to do some painting and I did a little design work on my computer. We listened to music. Then we played Zingo. Half way through the game I changed the music to the sound track from Cinema Paradiso, which if you haven't seen, you must get it in your queue immediately. The music alone is enough to make your heart burst right out of your chest. Then something changed. My son started to turn melancholic during the game. Then he inexplicably started to tear up.

I proceeded to ask him if he wanted to do something else. Play something else. Watch a movie. Paint more. His eyes were still welled with tears. Did he want to use my paper cutter? He nodded (sometimes he needs a little occupational therapy). I go to get a few prints I had made a while ago that printed with a clogged black ink cartridge so they are very colorful but not "sellable". I bring them back to the studio to cut into strips so we can make a garland or something by which time he is lying on the murphy bed sobbing. And the music is swelling in the background and it occurs to me that he is somehow moved by the music. Maybe. I snuggle with him on the bed for a few minutes and then I whisper, is it the music?


I asked him if he wanted me to turn it off and he nodded, too overwhelmed to speak. A minute later we started cutting and about ten minutes into our project he said he was feeling better. So we talked about how music is powerful stuff. How it can make us even cry. How I cried too when I first heard it. He smiled.

Three years ago I started this blog because I needed some place outside of my head to process my son's behavior. It took some time and some counseling to understand that he was a text-book "sensitive child". Not only in the "cries when you look at him sideways" kind of way but also in the "mommy, I can hear the light buzzing" kind of way. He was the kid that panicked at Gymboree and Music Together. Participation at birthday parties usually meant watching from the side. It was hard both because I desperately wanted him to be like the other kids who seemed to so easily fit into their surroundings and because I saw so much of myself in him.

In many ways he's a very different boy now. He warms up to people more quickly. He speaks his mind. He even goes barefoot. But at his core he's still every bit as sensitive as he always was, and I'm finally proud to say, he gets that from me.


Everything's Rosie said...


DR said...

thanks for sharing susie.
being a parent is so hard and humbling for the reasons you said above -- we want to support who they are and yet we want them to fit in too.

aimee said...

i'm about to gush an ocean. that is beautiful!

Aliza said...

Wow. Susie, this one turned me to putty. So moving...had to listen to the music again.

laamie said...

that's so dear. what an incredibly lucky little boy.
he's obviously something special!
what a beautiful day you had too...
Susie, you are a remarkable lady.

Liv @ Choosing Beauty said...

Geez, talk about getting choked up, Susie. It's so incredible that he has you to work through his emotions. How many parents would know it was the music?? My seven year old is so similar. He also needs to hear the same song eight million times to get every beat, every feeling, every lyric. Right now, it's all Michael Jackson all the time. I suspect from your posting you know all about "The Highly Sensitive Child." It's hard work, but we're so lucky to have them.

no way said...

Boy did I need to hear this today. My son (I know I mention him every time you write about yours, but they seem similar in many ways) gives me quite a run for my money. I hesitate to write specifics about him on my blog b/c friends and family read it, and I don't want what I write to color their opinions of him, but he is a challenge indeed. A very intelligent, talkative challenge who is also sweet, kind, and fun. Much of his behavior reminds me of myself at his age, or what my mom recollects of me at that age, and I sometimes feel that I have no idea what I am doing with him. Much of what I read/others suggest just doesn't seem to apply to him, or doesn't work. I haven't had much luck finding anything on the Adler method you mentioned earlier, but I'll keep looking. In the mean time, I am totally crazy about him and truly can't get enough of him, even though he often drives me straight up the wall. I was thinking the other day that I wish I would have been more open about my challenges with him on my blog, since now that he is entering kindergarten I would have something to look back on and see how far we've come.

And this is quite a reply I've left you. I should have just made it a post on my own blog. I apologize...I guess what I was trying to say is, you nailed it with this one. Beautiful writing.

AG Ambroult said...

ohmygoodness, now *I* am about to cry. What a special kid he is! This from the woman who tears up at the national anthem. Seriously.
Do yourself —and him- a favor and resist the urge to play the soundtrack from Les Miserables when he's around.

Lori said...

Ok, this made me tear up real tears. I am going to i-tunes for cinema paradiso right now.

pixie said...

well, shoot, now i'm sobbing! i had no idea our sons had so much in common. bless his little heart...miles is extremely sensitive to many things, including music and has asked me to turn certain pieces off-and i notice that it happens sometimes in conjunction with other emotional experiences. i think it overwhelms him.
they do get this from us! i love them so. and i can't stop staring at your kid's beautiful head of hair! what a great photo. sweet thing.

Esti said...

I agree with what everyone's said before.
I remember Cinema Paradiso's moving music. Thanks for getting me back to this feeling for a moment.

Bella Sinclair said...

Awww, Susie. My heart. It's melted.

I've been away too long. I'll have to come back later and catch up some more. Hope you are well.