Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Things I Love About My Kids #1: They Love My Singing

In an effort to focus more on the positive, I'm starting a series of "Things I Love About My Kids." That way, when they're being holy terrors, I can read this and find some kind of balance.

So here's #1: they love my singing.

I'm not sure why my singing is so very bad. It's not like I don't practice; I love to sing and always have. But I also have to admit that my enthusiasm for singing has always far, far outstripped my talent. I joined my school chorus in fifth grade, and doggedly kept with it well into high school. A memory sticks out in my head from ninth or tenth grade: I had the misfortune to be seated first row (I'm short) between two of the best singers in the school, a grade or two ahead of me. The ones who always got the solos, who got the starring roles in the school musicals (I couldn't even score a place in the chorus), who performed song-and-dance routines in the talent shows. Anyway, I remember one of them asking me, as nicely as she could, if I could please sing a little quieter-- I was so terribly off-key that it was messing with her own pitch. Deflated and mortified, that was pretty much the beginning of the end of my enjoyment of singing in the school chorus, or really, singing in public at all (the odd birthday song notwithstanding.) I still sing in the car, often loudly; I've been known to hum quietly to myself around the office. But I can't recall anyone actually enjoying listening to me sing, my entire life.

Until now.

A couple hours ago, I was upstairs putting my kids to bed. Our bedtime ritual is pretty crappy, as these things go-- as the kids get older, and harder to wrangle, we keep dropping activities while, if anything, getting to bed later. But one thing they insist on-- along with their water bottles-- is their goodnight songs. They each have their song: Alyx is "Simple Gifts;" Malcolm, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star;" and Isaac "You Are My Sunshine." The boys have had the same songs since they were babies, at least six months, probably around four months when we first separated them while sleeping. Alyx insisted on having her own song after we moved into this apartment. And as far as I can tell, to my kids, I'm the greatest singer that ever lived. Every performance is pronounced "beautiful" by Alyx. When she sings to me, she tries to imitate all my mannerisms, and when she asks me how she did, she compares herself to me. When I sing for my kids, I don't care that I never got the voice lessons I had hoped for, and probably never will now. I'm not just "good enough" for them, I'm amazing. And when someone thinks you're that amazing, you can't help but feel, well, amazing. At least a little.

I know, all too soon, they will get to that age where my mere existence is an embarrassment to them, and I'm sure that then, my singing will elicit eye rolls and howls of "Moooo-ooooom!" So I try not to miss a chance to sing with them now, while I'm still the best singer in the world. And I love them for it.
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