There was a toddler at my house. What wonder.
I arrived home from work on Tuesday, and she was there already, her hair tight-curled into a baby Afro–America’s newest Shirley Temple–star of the show.
She was playing in the basement with my parents, on a cart my mother bought her. If she sits on it, she should be able to propel it forward with her toddler-legs, which still maintain the excellent and prized fat-roll on the thigh (but I saw that the legs are stretching longer, too). Anyway, she hasn’t discovered the forward-propel yet, so she scoots backwards until she hits a wall and someone flips her in a new direction. So we played together, too.
On Wednesday morning she woke up at 5 a.m. Why not? For there is life to be lived. A bit later, I took her on a morning run, me in running shoes, her in p.j.’s, riding in the stroller.
I turned on some music for my phone, and put it in the cup holder on the stroller. I started with a baby song, got bored, and flipped to Motown.
It was what the doctor ordered.
Music, to her, is like rich air. When she inhales it, she becomes more alive. She turned around in her seat to face me for a bit. I sang her a line. She turned around, facing forward, and started BELTING Motown for the sleepy neighborhoods we passed through.
She doesn’t have words yet. She doesn’t quite have tunes yet. But, she has soul. She has it deeper and wider than even seems logical for a human just the height of my knees.
And she sang. I ran, and she sang loud and proud. How does she know, already, how to thrill and flair her notes? To belt with confidence? To reach deep, deep into her being and share herself and her art with these tired houses? Did she hear a song once that inspired her? Or is it just inherent?
We passed an older man, near his car. He stared at her. I said, “She’s actually singing…”
And he laughed and called out to her.
When we got home, I lifted her out of her stroller, showered, went to work.
But it was my favorite part of the whole day.