When I was growing up, I played music constantly. I liked to sing (still do), and I would play a song twenty times in a row to learn it. Sometimes I wouldn’t play the whole song, just the parts I was having trouble with, over and over and over again. Being a parent myself, I don’t know how mine stood it. I was shy, so I wouldn’t sing in front of well … anyone, but when I was in my bedroom (which is where lived, essentially) I’d perform my heart out.
Since getting married (and losing my bedroom) and having kids and being busy with childcare, chores, work, and other married-life stuff, I’ve stopped listening to music regularly. I’ll now go days and even weeks without playing a record or singing anything other than a hymn or two on Sunday morning.
I feel badly about this. The gift of music should not be taken for granted. Our bodies and souls were designed to respond to music—isn’t that amazing?—and its transformative powers are awesome. You don’t have to be especially musical to appreciate what I’m saying.
While I no longer have the time or energy to devote to music like I used to, it’s definitely a part of who I am, and I find myself instead going on these music binges. The binge is usually triggered by hearing someone sing in a particularly moving or beautiful way or maybe they’re just having fun, but then I find my head bobbing and my foot tapping, and I just want to join in. So, during these binges, in addition to racking up the iTune charges, I sing. A lot. My husband doesn’t object, but my children like to complain.
One morning in the shower during a binge, I used up all the hot water and my fingertips got crinkly. I’d completely lost track of time. After turning off the faucets I said out loud “Wow, I must have been in here a while.” Adam, who was sleeping (or so I thought) in the bedroom next to the bathroom shouted in a grumpy voice “No kidding! You sang the whole album!!” (I was having a Corrine Bailey Rae moment. Oops.)
During this recent binge I was going to town while in the kitchen doing dishes. Christian appeared in the doorway, IPod dock in hand. “Uh, I’m going to set this up, so you can remove your headphones. I don’t think you can hear yourself.” I said “Oh, are you saying that I sound bad?” He just grinned and continuing setting up the dock.
Later that evening at dinner I told my family “I need you all to go somewhere. I can’t sing around you guys. You’re always judging. It inhibits me, and the notes won’t come out.” Christian actually giggled, he found that notion so absurd. “Mom, you sound terrible. It has nothing to do with us” he said. Now, I’ve been told that I have a pretty singing voice, and I do have ears, and frankly I think I’ve got some talent. I don’t care what they say. My current binge might be winding down (Day 6), but they’ll be another.