Unless your heart is prepared to Feel Things, please don’t listen to Sufjan Stevens on the day when your daughter, who suddenly wakes up Very Tall, begins first grade.
Especially don’t listen to a version of this song; don’t listen to it while you’re sitting on the floor with her later that afternoon, constructing a little world from the cardboard boxes sent by her best friend away in Italy, don’t listen, because last winter you watched, with this tall girl, this specific video, heard the sweet story of the wasp…the girl was transfixed last winter by this video, by the young orchestra playing and wearing wings…asked for them again and again…if you listen to this song on this now-day, this tall day, your heart will expand, become a stretched balloon full of the breath of love that is created by biology (she’s your daughter, she’s getting taller, she’s growing so fast) and horomones (you’re older now too, approaching a later life threshold, but feeling younger than ever before in so many ways, how your heart is liberated, flying, soaring, but too, paradoxically full of the knowledge that time becomes shorter and shorter with each exhilarating breath, holding all the complexity of this, and her new shoot of life, this sprout, this girl, all the wings, and what this song means to the young man who wrote it, which has nothing to do with your daughter growing up, except that it does, because all of humanity means this, everything does, as our little interior mirrors work to show and mean what we see in them, always ourselves along with the world and work around us, and how messy and glorious that mess is)…and talk to her at night about death, help her understand what you are still trying to understand, keep telling her that no one knows everything, keep making room for it all…
(And Sufjan sings, “I can tell you, I love him each day…”)
and his earnest, beautiful, shining orchestra plays with him, their hearts in their fingers on strings and keys, telling their own stories, lips on brass, holding bows and sticks and hitting drums to make and manifest together just one thing .
Which is beauty.
Grateful today for the heart that can hold so much.