Wow, I had just put my computer down after posting that I should do this and I should do that… oldest son just got me.

He came in from playing outside on a snow mound–wet, covered in whiteness, and rosy-cheeked.  Both my boys reminded me of times when I grew up at the lake.  My broth  ers and I would spend hours outside creating snow forts and sled paths that led to streaming down the lake…zooommm.  All three of us had a specific job.  My older brother would “cut out” the design, I followed by cleaning and kicking my way to make the tunnel bigger, and my little brother hauled away sled fulls of snow to reinforce the walls.  This was elaborate and arduous work.  My mother made sure that we connected with her every half hour or so.  When we heard the pounding on the big windows in the house, we knew we had to make mom happy.  “Throw up an arm or a leg”, my brother would yell.  This meant that each of us had to present an appendage so she knew we were still alive and not buried under piles of snow.  Ahhh the memories. 

I wish my kids were out at the lake growing up today.  I learned so much building snow forts, playing Guerilla Warfare, and biking all over the countryside.  WE played well, we three.  We had too, we had no one else to help occupy our time.  As a result, there was not much fighting.  Snow days were made for long days of RISK ( dimes became nuclear bombs) and I still love Kamchatka.  Monopoly was also high on the list as was building  forts in the house…the livingroom in the kitchen and vice versa.  I swear I was meant to be a boy in those years, I certainly grew up like one.  I think it made me a more creative person.

ANYWAY, that long segue gives me motivation for my oldest son.  He came in all wind-swept and glowing from exercise…it was beautiful to see.  I almost wish I had snow boots and pants to join them.  I can’t remember the last time I owned either one…That realization just hit me, I do not own a single pair of boots or snow pants.  Weird. 

My son asked for a bath.  He fills it with hot water, no bubbles, and soaks and floats….it is his unplug time.  Part female here? Naw, just in touch with what his soul needs!  He came out wrapped in a towel, wet and tousled.  He has reached that big toothy stage where teeth take up most of his face and his smile is a bit awkward.  Love it.  He sat opposite me and told me he would like to sing the “Star Spangled Banner”  I sat on the floor to listen, I should have shut my mouth.  He started and immediately and it sounded de-nasal.  All my years of lessons and concert choir rushed back as I instructed him to open his mouth so the sound comes out more rounded.  I even put my hand under his chin to help him open his mouth.  OH MOM!!!!!  He shut down right away.  I saw it and he said ” I am just a bit embarrassed now.”  He choked back tears and I was instantly humbled.  What was I thinking?  I hugged him and told him to sing exactly the way he wanted and asked his forgiveness.  Yup.  I asked my son’s forgiveness.

How could I put him in that position?  Easy.  I am a  perfectionist and the same standards I have for them have been ingrained in me since I was small. My mother may read this and I can still remember her telling me that if I wanted to be a good vocalist I should be able to imagine middle C in my mind and sing it on pitch every time.  I couldn’t then and I quit singing in front of her.  I don’t think she has ever really heard me open up and sing….my desire was squelched that day.  It was no longer fun to sing in the car or in the house with my family.  I learned a valuable lesson that day and I learned an even bigger lesson today.  SHUT UP MOM!    He did sing for me and I helped him with the lyrics, and he smiled.  I do remember him looking at me and telling me “Mom, I don’t sing as good as you.”  Wow.  We think they don’t listen or internalize….they do.  I reversed something I learned ages ago today and I am glad I had the presence to do so.

As for my singing…I sing, I sing well.  Mom’s reading this and she knows it to be true.  I’ve sung weddings, choir, cantatas, musicals, and countless hours in the car.  Maybe one day soon I will sing for her, but that is my issue…not hers.  Today I shut up and listened to one of the most beautiful renditions of the national anthem I have ever heard…Steven Tyler, eat your heart out.




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Dawn
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 17:42:27

    Thanks-very good reminder for me too. Especially this week. (I am also a perfectionist trying to help my children be the best they can be and more than likely have squashed their dreams unintentionally as well.) It’s hard to be a Mom.


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