This entry is a portion of the Chapter called Our Children Remember from the new book Hope, Faith & Empathy available at http://www.littledrum.com Hope you enjoy it!
One day, about five years ago, when my twins were not quite three, I took advantage of one of their rare afternoon naps to get some housework done. I was washing the dishes when I faintly heard the Women’s Warrior song. In my sleep-deprived state, I thought it was me singing; after all, no one else in our house knew the song that was softly filling the rooms. However, I soon realized that it wasn’t me singing. It was the voice of a child. I turned off the tap and dried my hands, then followed the melodic voice down the hall towards my twins’ room. As I got closer, I realized it was my daughter singing. She was lying on her back, nestled under her comforter with her hands in the air. I stood in the doorway—watching and listening. She used the back of her right hand like a drumstick, gently beating the palm of her left hand in perfect beat, like that of a heart. Her little voice had turned the “y” sound of the song into a “w” sound, “Wah, wah, wahoo, wah, wah wahoo….”
How did she know this song?
A chill ran through my body as I watched her, my eyes wide taking in the preciousness of what was unfolding in front of me.
Although I had sung it almost daily while I was pregnant with them and many, many times over the last two and a half years since they had been born, I had never intentionally taught her this song.
Quietly, I leaned against the doorframe and closed my eyes, her voice and the drum beat of her little hands easing me into a peaceful state, erasing the stressors of my day. My daughter and I were connecting beyond our physical selves, beyond the two of us. It felt like the air danced around and within us, removing negativity and hurts and filling it with strength and courage. I felt the power and healing of this song so profoundly.
I was reminded of that beautiful summer with Mabel and the workshops we facilitated, how she so taught me so much that summer: ceremonies, this song and others…and so much more. Mabel’s words came back to me. “This song is a women’s warrior song, a song of great strength, beauty and power. As women, we have incredible power because we are the givers of life. Being a warrior doesn’t mean we have to fight or force our opinion, beliefs or ideas in an aggressive way. This song talks about our strength and importance of speaking our truth, living an honest and respectful life and honouring the beauty within each and every one of us.”
I am not sure how long I stood in my daughter’s doorway, each breath full of the preciousness of this moment in time. Mabel also taught me that our children remember: they remember the traumas and painful experiences of their Ancestors, but they also remember their ceremonies, languages, customs, and stories. She was right.
This song I was listening to my daughter sing had been sung for generations upon generations, and now I knew it would continue to be sung by future generations, thanks in part to my daughter.