“You’ll Be In My Heart,” Phil Collins, Tarzan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
We buy the VHS for Disney’s animated feature, Tarzan, in late 1999. I’m twenty-seven, he’s three.
One of the feature songs, “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins (that will go on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song), becomes the song of you and of me. Of us; my second born child, my first born son. You’re three.
“Come stop your crying, it will be all right”
Even before this song came out, I called you, “my heart,” a boy-child I never thought I could love as much as I did my girl-child — my first-born, my complete joy, my entire heart. A mother’s worry when her belly grows big for the second time is that there will be nothing for the next. How could a love you would willingly die for be given again without it diluting, or being somehow lesser, fraudulent? When your gender was revealed, my worries came once more. Years of being barraged by my brothers’ endless torments and tortures taught me — girls, safe; boys, bad. Would I be able to find the love for you that you would need? That I, a mother, was supposed to give?
Even before this song came out, I called you, “my heart,” a boy-child I never thought I could love as much as I did my girl-child — my first-born, my complete joy, my entire heart.
“For one so small you seem so strong,
my arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm”
But, you…You captured. All of me. An uncanny connection I could not explain. How you would come to me when I needed it most. Crawling into my lap, covering me with kisses and I-love-you-mommy’s whenever I was in a darkness. Whenever I needed grounding. The timing of your affection, so eerie, it elevated from mere coincidence. You knew. For one who had not yet mastered speech, you had somehow already mastered compassion and empathy.
“This bond between us can’t be broken,
I will be here,