I’m going to write a very personal story. (I hope my son will forgive me for sharing it.)
So many times, I’ve said this line: “I’m not a singer! I’m a songwriter.” I know that really isn’t true because I put a lot of energy into singing. I go to a vocal coach every week and perform regularly at open mics.
I didn’t sing for decades and once I rediscovered my love for music, it changed my life.
When I sing, I feel alive.
Music transports me somewhere else and my heart sings along with every word that falls out of my mouth.
Early last year, I developed a persistent cough that affected my singing. Until that happened, I really took my ability to sing for granted.
My cough was due to acid reflux and a doctor told me that losing weight might resolve my problem. After that, I committed myself to a weight loss program and have dropped 30 pounds already. Thankfully, my cough disappeared and my voice came back to me!
My first-born son, Jason died at the age of five. I shared music with him and grief swallowed me.
I have three other children and they are all adults now. When they were growing up, I forced myself to sing to them despite my grief.
But my oldest son did not like it. If I sang to him, he would actually cry and shriek. His tiny hand would reach out to cover my mouth.
My two other children did appreciate music and have beautiful voices. While in her teens, my daughter wrote original songs and shared her recordings on YouTube. She’s very talented, but lost interest in music several years ago.
One day, I told her I hoped she would sing again. It was a shame because she had such a terrific voice. I regretted saying anything because she snapped at me. With annoyance she said, “Let go of it, mom. It’s not happening unless I want it to.”
How could I not understand? When I was 23 (her age), I stopped playing my guitar. It wasn’t until I was 50 that I played again.
As much as I love to sing, I feel uncomfortable singing in my apartment when my sons are there. My sons like to sleep late on their days off. I don’t want to disturb them with my singing. But I admit that there are times when it’s very frustrating for me.
My oldest son has had issues with noise his whole life. At his own Bar Mitzvah, he couldn’t handle the music and went outside to escape.
One time, he gently said to me, “Mom is it possible you could sing while I’m at work? I can’t concentrate when you’re singing – I’m just waiting until you finish.” It was difficult for him to say that but my 26-year-old had been working long hours and treasured his downtime.
After that, I tried to work around his schedule. If I worked on my music, I wore headphones and sang softly so as not to disturb him.
I’m going to describe something that happened last night, which surprised me so much that it’s hard for me to contain my emotions.
My son has a two-hour commute every day to his job. Sometimes he rests or reads in his car until the traffic is lighter. “Being in my car is nice because I like the peace and quiet,” he once told me. I hoped he didn’t avoid coming home because my music and singing bothered him.
Last night, he came home a little after 8:00 p.m. He walked into the kitchen where I was cooking and smiled at me. My oldest son, who never liked music, told me he had a confession to make.
He said, “Mom, I’ve discovered singing. I’ve been practicing in my car.”
To say I was surprised would be an understatement.
I grinned and said, “Wow! Honey, that’s fantastic. Singing is such a great release – you know how much I love to sing!”
“Would you like to hear me? Can I sing for you?” he stammered.
“Of course!” I said, trying to mask my shock.
“I’m not even sure how my voice sounds. I’m pretty nervous about this, but I think I can do it,” he said.
“Where do you want to sing?” I asked.
He replied, “How about in your bedroom?”
We entered my bedroom. I sat down near my bed and he stood across the room.
“My heart is pounding – I’m so nervous! Do you see I’m sweating?” he said.
I reassured him and then I closed my eyes. I hoped he’d be less nervous if I wasn’t looking at him.
He chose the song “Hallelujah.”
It was quiet and he tentatively began to sing. I had to concentrate in order to hear his soft baritone notes. But as he went along, he sang more freely. His voice was so soothing and sweet, caressing my heart and soul.
I never imagined this would happen, that my son who disliked noise and music would want to sing to me someday.
He paused and asked me how he sounded. I effusively told him what a wonderful voice he had.
“Would it be okay for me to sing a little more?” I beamed and enthusiastically nodded yes.
When he was finished, I stood up and gave him a huge hug.
It just wasn’t possible that I could love him any more than I did at that moment.