I found out about the Songs of Love Foundation in a totally random way….
I was thinking about what music I should use in Cannon’s soon-to-come Surfer’s Healing 2012 video. And I was drawing a complete blank. The music in last year’s video was too perfect and really set the bar high. I wanted to feel the same way about whatever I used this year.
So, I began a Google search. I Googled things like “hopeful songs,” “inspiring songs,” and “songs about special needs.” I was mostly getting lists that random people or websites had created of such songs. I looked through soooo many different sites and nothing was resonating with me. Nothing was “the one.” But at some point, a link to an organization popped up. Which was weird. I was looking for songs. But I decided to click on the link and see why it was pulled into my search.
The Songs of Love Foundation, come to find out, is a group of songwriters, producers, and performers who create fun, personalized songs for kids going through tough medical treatments. I was completely floored with how cool this idea was! And thankful that these individuals had sought to help children through some dark, dark days in their lives in such a unique and powerful way. I watched a lot of videos and media clips on their site and completely fell in love with their vision and purpose. As will you! Please, please, please take the time to have a look at a quick example…..
I decided to send them an email about Cannon. Most of the kids I was seeing in the clips were like permanent residents in children’s hospitals around the country. And we have spent more than enough of our time hanging out on D5 (shout out to some of the coolest nurses and Child Life Specialists imaginable at our beloved UMC!) but times have changed a bit. THANK THE LORD! So, I wasn’t sure if he would “qualify.” Even though we are still in a tough place and have to daily struggle to maintain his health. Among many, many other things.
So, I sent the email. Outlining ALL of Cannon’s diagnoses and the intense treatment and therapy schedule we maintain. I told them that we would understand either way…..no worries. I was promptly emailed back with a couple sentences telling me that there was a form attached to the reply. Fill it out and send it in. It didn’t say they would for sure do it. Just to fill out the form and send it in. I spent a couple of days agonizing over this short one-page form! LOL! I wanted it to perfectly sum up our AMAZING little man! The form asked about Cannon’s favorite things, his hobbies and special interests, along with the makeup of his family and preferred type of music. We told them about his love of surfing, Chick-fil-A, and Veggie Tales. About his intense fascination with reading and counting…..and how he snuggles in each night with his beloved Curious George stuffed monkey. How Christian music is mostly what he listens to with an occasional rock and/or pop song mixed in. And how music is such a calming force in his life. Truly something we all rely on when assisting him in coping with life and our day-to-day challenges. The question that really had me thinking was “What 3 phrases come to mind when you think of your child?” I have no idea why but this one was a tough one to answer. I eventually settled on that Cannon is most at home when he is “riding the waves,” is our gift from God, and that he never ceases to amaze everyone with his strength, courage, and endurance. Finally, we were asked to include his age, sex, a recent photo, regular hospital, and a contact person at that hospital.
I, both, faxed and snail mailed the completed application (just to be sure) but also included a handwritten page explaining what Cannon had been through. Sorry but when you see “Chronic Gastrointestinal Impactions”…..it sounds like I need to run to the store and simply buy a little laxative. I needed to explain. Those 3 words just do NOT cut it. I sent the app on its way….both ways…..and we waited……..
A month and a half later…..on a perfectly normal Saturday afternoon…..I checked the mail and there it was! I ran from the mailbox back into the house as soon as I spotted the “Songs of Love” address label! I couldn’t believe my eyes! And I just couldn’t wait to see Cannon’s face! And hear a song exclusively written for our precious boy!
I opened the package as fast as I could and threw the CD in the CD player. Cannon started bobbing his head immediately and spun around a few times…..scripting “Mom, shall we dance?” But, as is so common with Autism, he didn’t maintain a connection and walked away….starting to play with other toys. Not appearing to still be listening. And he seemed bothered by the fact that I was following him around and filming. I was a little bummed. But as I continued to re-play his special song…..he seemed to begin to grasp that this was about him. And later, when I began putting together a little slideshow…..he REALLY got into it and is now CONSTANTLY asking me to play it for him. When I do, an ENORMOUS grin stretches across his entire face, laughs begins erupting from his little body, and he dances around the house as only he can. It’s beautiful to witness how much joy this simple song brings to him.
And I will be eternally grateful to Karl Moraski and the Songs of Love Foundation for making this happen for our Cannon! Those guys have brought smiles to a kiddo who doesn’t always know how to show his feelings, laughter to a life that is mostly quiet and complicated. And pure, pure instantaneous joy at the click of a button to a little boy who I may never truly understand. But who seems to get that music touches him. Comforts him. And allows him to escape even if just for mere moments. From his fears and circumstances. Karl….there just aren’t appropriate words to express the level of my gratitude. Please accept my feeble attempt.
I am know blessed to share this great song with all of you. And a little slideshow I threw together to go along for the ride! Thank you Songs of Love! What a treasure this is for our Cannon! Have a click!
Songs of Love Foundation
P.O. Box 750809
Forest Hills, NY 11375