When I was a kid, my mother used to work a lot, so some of my favorite memories of spending time with her are of riding in this huge brown car she drove for year, and later replaced it with a big blue one, to and from the babysitter’s house. My mother used to sing a lot while we were driving and she had (still has) the most amazing voice. Like she could have won American Idol if that had been a thing in the earlier 80s. I would often try to sing along faking the lyrics are we drove. I wanted to sing just like her, but sadly, I wasn’t blessed with her talent. According to my ex, I am often flat and off tune and while that idea hurts he is probably right.
These are just a few of the songs I that when I hear them I think of my mother:
Jesus Christ Superstar “I don’t know how to Love Him”
“Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts
Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven”
“These Eyes” The Guess Who (which my mother could also sing in French)
I still sing all the time—in the shower, at the gym, while making dinner, and the in the car. I sing in the car all the time. I’m singing along to Neutral Milk Hotel as I type this up. For a while, in the mid-90s, I was even in a Riot Grrl band that never actually preformed because we broke up. I’ve always wanted to sing on a stage with a band, but I know this will probably never happen now because as I have gotten older I have developed awful stage freight. I can’t even do karaoke without my knees shaking and my hands shaking. It’s the worst.
It is because of my mother’s voice that I learned to love music. I used music as my way to find identity and find friends when I was a teenager. Music was a (and still is at times) a common bond when I didn't know how else to interact with people. In high school, I started to get really into punk rock, and my mother had a friend she worked with, a younger college kid, make me tapes of some bands I was into and gave them to me for Christmas. It was the best gift. I listened to those tapes till they wouldn't play anymore. My mother didn’t always like or understand what I was listening too, but she would laugh at Dead Milkmen songs with me. She would let me stay up late to watch 120 Minutes on Sundays, and listen to me as I went on and on about new videos by The Cure and Nirvana. She would laugh at my mad dance moves to Public Enemy and Dal La Soul.
She has helped to teach my son to love music too. Since Sid was a baby, my mother has made up silly songs with him. It’s something that they still do even though he is almost 21 now. The songs are usually about whatever thing they are doing at that time, but it is a sweet thing to watch and often hilarious.
Music is important to most people, but for me music is one of the many gifts my mother gave me.