Monday, March 07, 2011

Sing a Song

When I was little, my dad used to sing to me a lot. He wrote songs, but also just had music playing all the time. He was also great at putting together mix tapes, and his hesitation to jump into iPod and iTunes has been curious. Anyway, the point is that music was in our house and in our car a lot. The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Carpenters, The Monkees, and plenty of other 70s classics were the soundtrack of my childhood.

One song he sang was a Carpenter's classic, "Sing a Song". I don't know if he actually sang this a lot or not, but to me when I think of that song it's his voice I hear. This weekend on Netflix, we turned on a Sesame Street special and Colt was instantly mesmerized. It was a 20 Year special and it went through all the things that had happened on Sesame Street in 20 years (I believe this was a 1989 special) and I was hooked, as well. And of course teared up along the way.

At the end of this special, they sang that song, the voices of children singing it. It brought back a lot of memories, but hit me especially hard as I really, for the first time, listened to those lyrics as a parent.

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things, not bad
Sing of happy, not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple
To last your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Colt loves music. Of course, I'm just eternally proud of him anyway but his interest in music has always fascinated me. He has been able to recall songs and words and dances since he was just a few months old. He had favorites before he could crawl. He could do hand motions before he could speak. He loves any show with music, and he's quite demanding in what is played in the car.

Recently he's started actually singing, not just listening. And if that tiny 2-year-old voice in perfect pitch doesn't pierce your heart then I don't know what will. It is heartbreakingly sweet. And I love that he will sing anywhere, anytime. I love that he expects his mom, his Grandma, his Mimi to sing anytime he asks. In the middle of the restaurant? Bring on some "Roll the Gospel Chariot". At the park, better sing "Jesus Loves Me" for all the world to hear. He loves music, and loves to sing. Always.

So the words of this song are like my mantra for him. I want him to ALWAYS sing. Sing loud, sing strong. Don't worry that it's not good enough. Sing happy songs. JUST SING. I always want that for him.

But I know there will come a time, far too soon actually, where he won't sing anyplace and anytime. I know there will come a time when he will be embarrassed, when someone will make fun of him, where someone will stop him from doing so. And I won't be able to help. It is part of life, experiencing that hurt. And for some reason, listening to that song this weekend made me ache inside.

As a parent, I've lived very much in the present. I don't read a lot of parenting books. I just live in the moment and do what feels right. And I've surprised myself with some of the ways that I naturally parent. But living in the present means I've spent little time thinking about how to handle things in the future. How to answer questions, how to handle discipline, how to handle hurts. Oh, I think about it but I don't really prepare.

The idea that one day I won't be able to protect Colt's heart, to protect his and Owen's feelings...that one day I won't be able to be in the moment for's just overwhelming. It's painful and sad and makes my heart pound.

I love being their mom. I love being their protector. I love being their encourager. So since I won't be able to always fix things for them, in the meantime I will just encourage them to sing without worrying. What's the old saying, "dance like nobody's watching".

Colton and Owen - just sing. Sing anything, anywhere, anytime and don't let anyone stop you. Sing and be happy. Don't live life like it's an American Idol audition - I hope you just simply sing a song. I will always sing with you.

Darn you, Sesame Street. *sob*


Joe Pearson said...

I like you when you're happy
I like you when you're sad
I like you when you're good to me
And even when you're bad
Though troubles come and go you know
There's one thing that I'll do
I'll always be your friend because
I like you

- Love the post! :-)

Julia said...

You forgot Elton John, Huey Lewis and the News, and Ray Stevens!