Tuesday, November 11, 2008

sing along

I love to sing. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it. I am so bad at it, in fact, that when I was a kid, my mother asked me to please not sing around her as my off-key singing hurt her ears. Now, as a mother myself, I can't really imagine that. When Tom and Julie were small, one of my greatest joys was to hear their little voices singing in that sweet, un-self conscious way that children sing. I couldn't tell (and didn't care) if they were off-key or not. As they got older, they became more self conscious and wouldn't sing around me anymore, although they still sang with each other. This made me more sad than I could ever tell them.

I have already mentioned my trip to New York City when I met up with Tom and Kristy in Chinatown. That night we went to a Japanese karaoke restaurant where we had a private room for several hours. I was delighted to hear Tom sing for the first time in probably twenty years. It was the highlight of my evening.

When Julie was home last month, she tried to entice us (well, mostly she tried to entice Ben - I am always up for a road trip) to drive to a bar in Aurora for a beer and a bucket of sliders. "Come on," she said. "We'll all sing in the car." Ben could not be persuaded, but in short order Julie and I were on the road. "I believe I was promised some singing," I told her. She dug the Neil tape - now safely transferred to CD - out of her glove box, and soon his plaintive whine filled the car.

I think I have mentioned the Neil tape before - it is my all-time favorite mix tape that Ben made for me. It is Julie's favorite, as well, I believe, and as we headed north in her car, we sang every song along with Neil. I heard Julie sing and sing and sing. We sang "Powderfinger". We sang "Southern Man", which we used to sing softly together as we wandered up and down the aisles of countless flea markets. We sang "King", which always reminds me of Bobo, and always brings a lump to my throat. We ate sliders and drank beer, then sang all the way home. I tried not to let Julie know how much it meant to me for fear I would somehow spoil the moment, but I am telling her now.

What an unexpected gift that outing was. Thanks, Jules. Let's do it again soon.


julie said...

that was a GREAT outing! :) it meant a lot to me, too--driving around singing is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and it was nice to be able to share it with you.

don't know how i got so inhibited--i know we used to all sing on long car trips when i was little, with tapes in. you would sing, and i was very quietly singing behind you...

anyway i DO love that neil young tape. probably listened to it more than anything else i've got. i've always thought of you when i sang to it, and now i will even more. i love especially that you sing not just the lyrics, but plenty of the guitar lines too--something i can't help doing too (especially with neil young)!

thanks for the thoughtful post, mom, and for the great time--what a perfect evening!

Bryan said...

I don't recall if I sang in front of my parents when I was a kid, but on the topic of singing in the car: My mom would always make up a harmony part to whatever song she was listening to. As a kid I actually found it kind of annoying for some reason... but now I do it too. What's weird is, it's usually songs that *don't* already have harmony: e.g. if it's the Four Seasons, I'll just sing the melody. If it's TMBG, or Green Day or something, I'll make up a harmony above or below the melody.

I miss doing karaoke. I don't think I've done it in over 4 years. Surprising, considering most of my friends are musical theatre types. I'd like to do it again now that I've been on stage -- I probably wouldn't shake as much. :)

anne mancine said...

Jules - Thanks so much for your comment! What a good daughter you are! What a lucky mom I am.

Bryan - I have to share a really charming story about your mom's singing. We have a dupe of a videotape that your parents lent us of the EHSPMB. It must have been from your senior/Julie's sophomore year. Anyway, as the band plays the National Anthem, we can clearly hear your mom sweetly singing along as she holds the video camera. I think it is my favorite part of the tape!