AMAZED AT WHERE I AM TODAY – PART 1

enjoying-performing-3I’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.

These are lyrics from my song “My Dream.” I believe my message is one of joy, even when I sing songs that carry sadness.

These are lyrics from my song “My Dream.” I believe my message is one of joy, even when I sing songs that carry sadness.

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!

I share a close up of one of my paintings, Dessert Medley. I’m not eating these desserts now.

I share a close up of one of my paintings, Dessert Medley. I’m not eating these desserts now.

No chips or tacos, either.

No chips or tacos, either.

But I am into fruit again.

But I am into fruit again!

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.

enjoying-performing-2

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.

fingerpicking-filtered-2

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?”

My bedroom view

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.

In this picture, Jason is holding his brother. Jason died five months after this picture was taken.

In this picture, Jason is holding his brother. Jason died five months after this picture was taken.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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8 Responses to AMAZED AT WHERE I AM TODAY – PART 1

  1. Norm says:

    All I can say is: Hallelujah!!!

    Like

  2. Belinda O says:

    Judy,what a beautiful story. I know you’ve said before both your sons have Aspergers, and I imagine that’s part of this son’s issue with music/noise. To have grown past that is a significant accomplishment, and of course has special meaning for you, with your love of music. I’ve always wished I had singing talent, but I simply don’t. I struggle to stay on tune and most of the time lose that battle. I do sing to my cats — each one has a special song and Mimi in particular knows hers (“You Are My Sunshine”). Music is a gift from God and I’m so glad he has blessed you once again with it.

    P.S. That picture with Jason is adorable!!!!

    Like

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Belinda. Your comment made my day. You are right about the Asperger’s and it is truly astounding for me. I think it’s fantastic that you sing to your cats. I’ll bet your cats love their songs. I am in complete agreement that music is a gift from God. It really has helped me so much. Keep singing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Judy….my name is Truly, and I “discovered” you when I read a comment you posted on Belinda’s blog. I just want to say that I am so sorry for your loss…I am at a loss for words beyond that. And, I want to let you know how much I loved this post, and that you write from the heart (and, you write in such a beautiful way). As a lover of music, I can really appreciate that it is a saving grace and source of such joy. I am really happy to know that you have a gift and a passion for music….and when I read of your son embracing music and singing to you, I became so choked up. Thanks for sharing….you are such a blessing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Wow, Truly! You made my night. I saw that you subscribed to my blog and your comment has me singing. I do love to write from my heart and sharing my music changed my life.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this comment. You’ve inspired me to think about posting again soon. I used to open up and write more often, but lately I’ve felt closed up. Isn’t it nice to know a comment can make a difference? Yours did! How can I thank you?

      Liked by 1 person

      • You just did…I’ve actually just read another of your posts and am blown away to discover that when you wrote “my paintings” that you meant you painted them….is that correct? I need to go back and comment (I’m typing while lying down and somehow logged out of your blog just as I was about to gush about how gifted you are…I’m going back in and will write very soon 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Judy says:

        Now I’m fumbling for words. I love puns and enjoyed your explanation of the Gilligan’s Island song puns. So complex and clever! Amazing!
        Yes, I am an illustrator by profession. Still doing that – I have another blog devoted to my art.
        But my passion is music. Thank you so much again for your kindness. You are awesome!
        And I’m going to enjoy your blog, too!

        Like

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