I have always had difficulty with noise, since a very young age. If I couldn’t control it; it felt as if it rattled my soul.
I see this sensitivity in my son; he does not do well at crowded places, when people yell, and public restrooms are the worst. I get it. I carry sanitizing wipes with me at all times, to avoid the noisy hand dryers; and the automatic flushing toilets.
When I was young, sensory sensitivities weren’t such a big thing, or as well known as they are now. I remember not being able to think if a faucet was dripping; plastic bags making noise in the back seat with the windows open, or any other distracting noise.
As a child, my father and his sister shared music with me. To this day, I feel music with my heart. There were some bands as a child that frightened me: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who. Others, U2, Cat Stevens, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan calmed me. I enjoyed their melodies and lyrics though I may not have understood the message behind them, they gave me peace.
We were a young family. My father was a chef, and worked all hours; but during the winter months he would work while we were in school, and be home for us after school. I fondly remember him home cooking, with music on, those days. My mother was in nursing school, pursuing a degree. She had been with us since birth, and was at a point where she could finish her schooling and build a career for herself.
I did not have a great time in school. I enjoyed learning; and was always thirsty for more education, just never what was being taught. I always had books; that was my passion.
The social part of school was the hardest for me. I always felt like I didn’t fit in; and recess, lunch and gym were too loud. I could not pay attention, no matter how much effort I put forth.
I will never forget the Columbia music membership: each month we received new music. Cassette tapes, delivered to our door. I would read through the catalog, circling items and folding pages; hoping to receive at least one of my many favorites. My father would always make sure to include one of my requests. It was better than Christmas morning, when that cardboard box would arrive.
We had an amazing sound system; purchased at Radio Shack. The speakers were at least three feet tall. The tower had a record player, CD player; tuner and two cassette slots. It was so powerful, and music sounded so sweet on it.
The day my life changed, was the day my father brought home the noise canceling headphones. He showed them to me, and let me try them out. My mother and sister were watching television.
I put my Columbia music best of tape in the deck, and pressed play. I found that I was able to shut out all the noise and chatter in my mind; and focus solely on the music. I felt it deep in my heart, and my soul. This was magic! Never before was I able to turn the world off; shut my ping pong brain off… but with the headphones and the right music; I’d found a way.
From that day forward I was obsessed with music. It was the key to expressing who I was, where I stood, and what I dreamed of. I was a mix tape maker, a DJ, a walking musical encyclopedia.
Music brought my husband and I together. And even in the tough times, it still brings us together.
So, when I saw what difficulty my son was having with all the excess noise surrounding him… I remembered. Amazon had the perfect pair. Once they arrived, I unwrapped them, and plugged them into his kindle for him. And explained if he ever gets too overwhelmed, to pick them up, and try them out.
This little four year old boy? He thanked me for helping him. His expression said it all; he really is just like me. He has some great taste in music too; the lumineers, bob Marley, the black keys, Alabama shakes.
This mom has a full heart. Each time I remember one of these experiences, I try to recreate it for him. To see them work, as I’d hoped? Gives me hope I’m not failing at this parenting thing….