My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free



On a rainy June day after my son was born following a 22-hour labor, a nurse came in to my hospital room, complimented me and my husband on the Mozart chamber music flowing from our CD player and told us that ours was the only room on the floor where a television wasn’t turned on. “I don’t believe you’ve turned it on since you arrived,” she said. “Do you mind if I ask why?”

She gave me a thumb’s up when I told her that I didn’t want the first sounds my son experienced to come from an obnoxious Meow Mix jingle or breaking news alerts on CNN. From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I’d played the piano for about an hour almost every day, hoping that all of that Chopin and Bach would somehow sink in. Classical was supposed to be the type of music that would soothe a baby in utero and make a difference in brain development, right?

So imagine my surprise in the hospital when I put in a Beatles CD to liven the mood and my little guy turned quiet and appeared to be listening. When “Blackbird” came on, I swear that he smiled. I played the song repeatedly after that, all the way up until my boy went to high school. Quite simply, it was his song, and still is.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

My husband, though, has a different favorite. Because “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens was playing on the radio in George’s Greek Cafe when we had breakfast there before I went into labor, he has always associated that song with our son.

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

What the songs have in common, of course (besides the fact that they are beautiful ballads), is that they each feature a blackbird. So whenever I hear the warbling, flute-like song of a blackbird, I always think of these songs, and of my first-born child.

After our boy moved out of the house in mid-August and into his college dorm, I came home from a tearful walk that night and found my husband quietly weeping at the kitchen table, listening to “Morning Has Broken.” I gave him a hug and he told me, “It’s OK — they’re tears of joy.”

When the song was over, I decided to listen to “Blackbird,” and I realized that my husband was right. As much as it hurt that day to let my son go, and as much as it hurts not to see him now every morning, this is a joyful time in his life and I want him to fly with courage and confidence.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Image 8-31-17 at 9.08 AM



9 thoughts on “Blackbird Fly

  1. Carl Ekstrom says:

    FYI, “Morning Has Broken” is a children’s hymnal by Eleanor Farjeon, The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 145, published in 1931. Set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune, “Bunessan.” Cat Stevens found the Hymnal while flipping through a Hymnal book in a bookstore.

    1. Cathy Free says:

      Yes! I knew it was a hymn, but didn’t know the entire history. Thanks, Carl! šŸ™‚

    1. Cathy Free says:

      Thank you kindly! I’ll be hearing that song for the rest of my life. : )

      1. There are worse things!

      2. Cathy Free says:

        Indeed! Good thing we weren’t playing heavy metal that day in the hospital. Or top polka hits! ; )

      3. Oh you’re right!

    2. Cathy Free says:

      BTW, I really like your blog. When I finish with my magazine deadlines today, I look forward to reading your latest!

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