Thursday, August 7, 2014

Off-Key & Perfect

Molly's been falling asleep to music as long as she's been alive. Some time after she started preschool and I got an iPhone, we switched from my warbling Beatles songs at her to making playlists on my phone.

Lately, she's been really, really into singing, and I've been listening as she sings herself to sleep. It's the sweetest sound I've heard since she said 'Mama' for the first time, rolling around in the floor at JK's house while I checked out her husband's Sandman comics. 
Molly at Lake Stephen, Summer 2014

Hearing Molly sing reminds me of my mom. She told me once that she loved that I sang while I did housework. I used to shriek Tori Amos songs out over sinks full of dirty dishes. It was my daily chore. 

When she cooked roast, I'd refuse to wash the pan with its nasty fat and meat drippings. She'd bend to my new vegetarian aversion to icky beef clean-up and let me off the hook. She was an incredible mom. When I moved home from Pittsburgh with a shaved head and piercings and refusing to eat meat, she'd cook two dinners every night. I remember her baking two huge lasagnas— one traditional with beef and one with Alfredo sauce and spinach and mushrooms and gods why didn't I learn to cook from that woman? 

I laughed when she told me how much she loved my singing: My utter, devastating lack of pitch is a thing of legend. She said I only sing when I'm happy, and that makes it the best sound. 

Mamas: They are the best. 

I remember  tears springing to my eyes when she said that. I was touched by Mama's sweetness, but also by the sudden realization that I was happy. In those days, my feeling joyous was a shocking and novel thing. I'd brought something else from Pittsburgh: a broken, sad little heart. My boyfriend and I had split up, and I was shattered for a while. It was an ugly, soul-deep depression. So having happiness sneak up on me when I was cleaning dirty dishes and singing about them (I'm thinking of two Tori lyrics referencing them) was a lovely little bit of magic. 

So I healed, and then I broke harder and much more completely when Mom died.

Eventually I healed again, singing to my baby girl the same songs Mom and Dad had played and sang to their babies. 

And she's so big now. She's much too big, truth to tell. She forms opinions and asks for pop songs and then sings them so sweetly I forget to be annoyed at them. She sings quite a bit better than I do, but still a bit off-key and adorably so.

Wowza: Tonight we'll go to meet her third grade teacher. Third grade. When-Did-This-Happen?-They-Grow-Up-So-Fast-And-Other-Parent-Clich├ęs. 

I'm away to fight the wildling into a bath to sluice away a couple of days' worth of dirt and cookie crumbs and a Kool-Aid-stained skin, then to attack her tangled hair with a comb.

Have a wonderful Thursday, and may all your 'throw backs' be warm, fond memories.