by Tara, Contributing Writer
That’s one of my favorite lines from an Eric Church song called “Springsteen”.
It’s so true. You hear a song and it can take you right back to a certain time … a certain place … a certain person.
When my son was diagnosed with apraxia I felt so cheated because during pregnancy I pictured us having crazy dance parties and singing at the top of our lungs.
My little boy couldn’t even say “mama” … how was he ever going to sing a song with me?
We are big country music fans so on our way to and from countless speech therapy appointments, that’s what we always have on. About a year ago, a song called “Wagon Wheel” (redone by Darius Rucker) came on. To be honest, I never liked the song much at first, but it was being played often during that time. I was just getting ready to flip to another station when my 3-year-old son perfectly sang the words “Heyyyyy Mama (Rock Me)”.
I almost drove off the road.
It was literally music to my ears.
“Heyyyyy Mama” is in the song over and over again.
(What’s that key to apraxia?!? Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.)
Needless to say that song will forever hold a special place in my heart. My son would light up when it came on. I could tell deep down it give him confidence. He found his voice in that song. Gradually (because we played the song what felt like 400 times a day back then) he learned all of the words. So did my 2-year-old daughter who also has apraxia.
We’ve never done any formal music classes with the kids … I’m just a big believer in the power of music. I’ve read many stories about Alzheimer’s patients who can’t remember the names of their children, but they hear a song like “Amazing Grace” and they can sing every single word.
My Dad also found us some incredible CD’s called “Talk It Rock It.” Every day at lunch we listen to these CD’s. I consider it part of their speech therapy. The kids don’t even realize they are practicing their words because they are just singing along! (And talk about a small world! The genius speech therapist who did these CD’s happens to live in the same city as we do and I’ve gotten to know her very well).
It’s frustrating that most likely I will never get a real answer about why both of my kids have been handed the challenge of apraxia. Why their brains have to be “trained” to do things that just happen naturally for other kids.
But, one of the silver linings I’ve found on this roller coaster — and still difficult– journey is the true joy of music ……… even the billionth time I hear my now 4-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter singing “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. (Seriously what is it with that song?!?!)
However, my husband always reminds me “we paid a lot of money and invested countless hours to hear those words”.
He’s absolutely right.
Bio: Tara is the extremely proud mom of two kids who could both put the Energizer Bunny to shame. She spends her days chasing, running, chauffeuring, refereeing, counseling, scheduling, coaching, doting, teaching, cooking, playing and loving. Her little boy and girl are diagnosed with apraxia. She lives in Minneapolis and is “temporarily retired” from her days as a TV/Radio journalist until her kids are a bit older.