A song I couldn't resist singing at the top of my lungs played on the radio during my drive home this afternoon. I felt the bubble of laughter in my throat as I belted the lyrics to "I Want You to Want Me." Unexpectedly, a phone call silenced the music, leaving my voice as the only sound to fill my car. The bubble escaped in my reply to my husbands, "whatcha doin'?"
Later in the evening, as I drove to the fire department to say good night to my husband, who is on shift tonight, another irresistible melody, "I Will Always Love You" inspired me to once again burst into song. I smiled great big at the memory of another time I put my heart and soul into singing this song; to my husband during one of our drives to town.
I remember a time the first time I realized I had stopped singing. I was almost a year beyond the end of my first marriage, driving up the road to my house with my pre-school-aged daughter buckled in the back seat. I caught her dimpled smile in my rearview mirror and the words to "You Are My Sunshine" cleared the cobwebs from my vocal cords. She sang along with me. I wondered how long it had been since I had last sung a song. Sure, I'd listened to music every day in the car on the way from here to there and back. But singing? That hadn't happened in...Months? Certainly not years?
For most of my children's lives I have sung to them. I sing them awake in the morning, I sing my daughter to sleep at night, I have sung to both of them during bath time, we sing in the car. For some unknown amount of time, I stopped singing. Why? The stress of daily life? The end of an unhappy marriage? Yep. So, when singing returned to me I was surprised at how foreign it felt but also how easily it came back.
My mother sang all the time when I was a child. She had a song for everything; when I wanted a new toy--"We Can't Always Get What We Want", when I was pouting over being teased or tormented by my brother--"Nobody Loves Me, Everybody Hates Me, Guess I'll Go Eat Worms." I also remember sitting on her bed while she folded laundry-- "Oh Jolly Playmate" and "You Are My Sunshine" and all kinds of other songs from generations before me that she had sung with her mother. The fact that my mother sang so often is reassuring and comforting to me. I think it means she was happy, even when balancing the roles of mother, wife and teacher. Contentment is a song and she knows many.
At the unhappiest time of my life, I did not sing. Prior to, and since that time, I sing often. Some of my favorite moments are when my husband and I are in the truck with our four children all singing Disney songs--"Zipadeedoodah," "Hakuna Matata," "Spoonful of Sugar" and the latest from my step-daughter, "It's a Jolly Holiday with Heather." We also sing our family favorite--"Home." I wake my 7-year-old daughter with "It's Time to Rise and Shine" and she is smiling before her eyes open. For my almost-13-year-old? "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning."
Singing = Happiness. May there be a song in every day and may we always be able to hear it, enjoy it and let ourselves sing it.