I am working on a project for AltD2’s birthday which is coming up at the start of September. I suppose this kind of follows on from the creativity post, although you’ll have to wait and see what it actually is. What I want to share today has more to do with the content.
When I was younger, there was a cheesy and (usually depressing) segment on Radio 1 called “Our Tune”. Simon Bates would read out listeners’ letters in a Serious Voice. Soothing music would play in the background. Invariably the couple had split up, the dog had died or some other tragedy had befallen the writer. The feature would culminate with a sentimental, meaningful song. [Hey, wow, I just googled and discovered it is still on!]
You have probably figured out by now that I am hinting that I have a special song, an “Our Tune” I suppose (but without Simon Bates and a long-lost goldfish), for each of the Alt Daughters. Not sure I have one for AltFather, unless you count the first dance at our wedding, which, incidentally, was Dido’s “Thank You“, and not the Eminem Stan version, you may be pleased to hear!
So I thought I would share these songs, and how they came to be.
When AltD1 was born, we spent a few nights in the hospital, getting to know each other, working out what was what, struggling a bit with feeding, and starting our life together. She was being fed expressed milk alternating with formula from a bottle.
‘They’ said to me:
“Someone else should give her the bottle, not you, so she doesn’t get confused.”
My role seemed to be to hitch myself up like Daisy the cow to a turbo powered pump, and when I wasn’t doing that, I was holding a very loud small pink thing while AltFather prepared the next bottle. In between, I would have a go at feeding her myself, although it wasn’t working very well. She got frustrated and I got sore. She yelled every time I picked her up. Once, when she was sleeping, I lay on my bed and looked at her in her plastic tank on wheels next to me, and thought:
“I’m not really allowed to touch you, am I?”
It was then that a few lines from a song popped into my head:
“All I do is miss you, and the way we used to be… all I do is keep the beat and bad company… all I do is kiss you, through the bars of a rhyme…”
I was only “allowed” to touch my baby with something in between us, I felt. The bars of a rhyme? The plastic bottle, the swaddled flailing arms… handing her over when she got too worked up… it made me sob. No prizes for the first to guess that this song (which betrays my soft rock roots!) is “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits.
There are two other lines in that song that I couldn’t get out of my head:
No there is nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love”