He Likes My Singing
|May 30, 2012||Posted by Issa under Parenting|
Dylan likes my singing.
That’s not a very interesting sentence. He’s a baby; I’m his mama; he’s not too hard to please.
But singing is a huge thing for me. It is a thing tied up with being on display and being required to perform and not being allowed to err. It is a thing at which one should be good or else one should not do, says the voice in my head.
I know that voice is wrong. But. I can’t sing louder than it, so the taunt sticks around.
At times in my life I have been praised for my singing, but being praised doesn’t help. It just reinforces that this is, in fact, an activity of skill and evaluation. Every time I open my mouth to sing I am painfully aware of all my technical shortcomings.
Yesterday while driving in the car, I sang old barely remembered rock songs with Joshua, and I didn’t mind that I stumbled around the words, and I didn’t notice whether I stayed on key or not. I caught myself really enjoying myself, and it felt amazing.
And all this is because Dylan likes my singing. I sing him silly songs and soulful songs and sad songs and sleepy songs and rap songs and pop songs and country songs and made-up-on-the-spot songs and songs I remember being sung to me as a baby and he likes it every time, every song, every note that leaves my mouth.
This does more than just heal my relationship with my voice.
It changes everything.
A quote from Toni Morrison (which I got from here):
There was something so valuable about what happened when one became a mother. For me it was the most liberating thing that ever happened to me. . . . Liberating because the demands that children make are not the demands of a normal ‘other.’ The children’s demands on me were things that nobody ever asked me to do. To be a good manager. To have a sense of humor. To deliver something that somebody could use. And they were not interested in all the things that other people were interested in, like what I was wearing or if I were sensual. . . . Somehow all of the baggage that I had accumulated as a person about what was valuable just fell away. I could not only be me -– whatever that was -– but somebody actually needed me to be that. . . . If you listen to [your children], somehow you are able to free yourself from baggage and vanity and all sorts of things, and deliver a better self, one that you like. The person that was in me that I liked best was the one my children seemed to want.
When I read that phrase, “the most liberating thing that ever happened to me,” I immediately thought of me, Dylan, and the singing. My baby likes my singing, and I daresay that I become complete as a human being as a result.
Good grief, that can’t be right. Surely I have dreams and goals and some kind of loftier purpose than helping my baby fall asleep or giving him the giggles.
But, you know, some of the popular dreams and goals and purposes these days suck. They’re full of shit. They don’t make the world a better place and they don’t sit softly in the soul.
But I open my mouth and a song comes out and a tiny new person is comforted or delighted, and that tiny person, and me, and the world are all a little better off for it. A little more free. A little more peaceful. A little more who we are, and a little more right where we belong.
Dylan likes my singing, and I am liberated, finally right here where I belong.