The moment I gave birth to Leyla-Mya Sparks “the baby” was the last thing on mind. I was sweaty and bloody and staring at the white tile ceiling of the birthing room and thanking God the pain was over and I was still alive! Then I heard a voice say, “Mrs. Sparks, are you going to look at your child?” I took a moment, then glanced down as the midwife pulled back the blankets wrapped around the little naked babe on my lap, and I gasped … “Oh my God! Its a girl” I looked up at Kris – all the blood had drained from his face.
I remember about a year later my best friend Suzanne asking me if I’d ever expected to have a girl. After all, for the past 6 years my life had been filled with three boys … Kris, Israel and Justice. It was just me and the men. “I don’t know if I ever expected a girl,” I replied, “But I didn’t expect Leyla.”
What I meant by that is hard to explain … Leyla is my daughter, and so incredibly familiar to me, but sometimes I feel like I’m just still finding her out. I’ve never met anyone quite so their own person. She can be shy and fearful at times, but she is also ferocious, and incredibly ferral. She hardly ever brushes her hair or fusses over clothing … it’s not that she hates those things, she just finds them such a waste of time. Its almost as if she knows life is too short. Everyday, the moment school lets out, she exits the building and takes off her shoes, preferring to walk to the car barefoot – even in the snow – like she can’t stand to wear the darn things one more minute than she has to. “Who’s child is this?” The teachers are wondering … she’s mine. The one with the hair in a nest, no shoes and ripped dress. I always felt like kind of a scruffy gypsy type, but I didn’t make her this way on purpose – I swear, she just came out that way. She’s like a female Huck Finn.
Animals love her. In our house we call her the chicken whisperer, cause she can get the chickens to come to her when they escape. The moment she could walk she could make animals come to her. She can also paint, draw or sculpt anything. Her favorite place to draw is on her own legs with permanent marker.
So … I wrote a song years ago called Pushy Old Women. Its a love song for Leyla to tell her about her lineage. I think I wrote it because she was such a surprise to me. Her strength and individuality of character. Then, I thought about the kind of women in our family: my mother and grandmothers, my great grandmother and my sisters, eccentricity is a running theme, and I realized Leyla should be no surprise to me.
For years people have asked me where they can buy the song recorded, but I haven’t had a recorded copy. Until now … Pushy Old Women will be on my new album “Back to Life”. I’ll be playing in Scotland this June to sell and promote the new album, and Leyla will be accompanying me on my travels. Sparks Women go to Scotland! Yippeeeee. Lucky us!
We’ll be in Scotland from June 14th – July 2nd. “Back to Life” release concert is at Nice & Sleazys, Glasgow on June 28th, 7:30pm, 5 bucks at the door. Special guests: oldsolar, Matt Macindoe and Linsay Jack – possibly others!
When Leyla is excited she talks incessantly drawing breath – do you think she’ll manage to talk the entire 11 hour flight from Denver to Heathrow?!
Here’s Pushy Old Women live.