Saturday, May 17, 2008

Singin' It

When I think about my son leaving for college, I imagine setting up a stage in front of his brick (apparently, he’s going ivy league) dorm hall—three mics for well-dressed back-up singers, some guy with sunglasses on synthesizers, a not-too-mean-looking drummer and me on the front mic. Everybody else—all those other college students and their parents—will be walking back and forth lugging boxes and ugly futon sofas and those Pier 1 chairs that take up too much room.

And I will be singing a KC & the Sunshine Band song: “Please Don’t Go”

It would be the very best-ever way to celebrate a passing and commemorate my own sadness without being grotesquely morose. I could wear a tight-fitting dress and a big wig and sing it all like I mean it even more than I do. I could jive my neck and belt out “Babe, I love you so—I want you to know. . . that I’m going to miss your love the minute you walk out that door: so please don’t go . . don’t go—don’t go away . . . Hey hey hey.”

If my son doesn’t go for this option—his standing in the grass with his foot up on a box, shaking his head a little and rolling his eyes maybe—but not in a disgusted sort of way, more in a “she’s always like that, but I love her” sort of way. If he doesn’t let his head bob a little while I’m singing and doing Diana Ross and the Supremes hand motions. If he doesn’t sway a little with his little brother (who will be thinking at that moment about which song Ill choose when he leaves for college the next year) If he doesn’t grab his little sister—an 11-yr-old by then—and high five her or throw her on his back or sing into his thumb with her.

If he sees me and pretends to be taking boxes out of some other family’s car. If he does then what he does now when I fall into emotion-balancing goofiness: stamps his foot, yells “Maaaaawm” with that growl that comes with the middle vowel sound. If his father shoots me that little look he does now—knowing, smirky, kind—when I miss the mark in an emotional moment.

If the band stops playing and we don’t get much past that tricky little hi-hat intro, never get to the psychedelic background work, never utter a head-swirling ”hey, hey, hey”

And nobody ever joins in with us—there are not other mothers working out moves together on the grass by the second verse, no fathers looking on and laughing or air-synthesizering. If I never get to the talking part at the end—the unsung pleading with the fade-out . . .

Well then, I’ll be sad. And only sad.

There will be no moment to offer up my sadness as a gift—as a celebration of having something worth being sad about: that we will have all loved being a family together for the years that we were all here on the planet at the same time—especially those ten where everybody was born and we were five working out life together in one house.

And I’ll carry that unsung sadness with me. And I wonder who I’ll be if it stays inside of me.

I hope he lets me sing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lucy Rae Hendrix

Well, friends, she's here! Our little Lucy has arrived--just two weeks old now and we're still not finished staring at her . . . when the Dr. said, "It's a girl!" I said, "It's a WHAT?" I was completely ready to continue this all-boy adventure and--even though we didn't find out before--I somehow felt sure we were staying on that road.

Apparently not! And this one's a sweet cutie. Sleeps a lot (I've always liked that in a newborn) and is generally agreeable. Sometimes even crosses her eyes, which I find very creepy and entertaining.

So there's our news.

Some of the best of it all has been sharing it with our guys--and the sing-a-longs have been my personal favorite moments. They've been a little OVER singing with me in the last year (no news flash there--how many times can a boy sing about pasta?) So hearing their little boy voices belt out SKIP TO MY LOU for their sister has been a small (almost teary--give me a break, I've still got lots of extra hormones) joy.

We're all glad she's here. (And she's got really long fingers, so now we've got our KEYBOARDIST for the band. Score.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Lovely Inspiration

Inspired by my good friend who writes about kids' music to write about whatever-in-the-blasted-universe she wants to, I'm finally writing my recent thoughts--which have nothing whatever to do with kids music. Or my kids. Or even just music.

(Plus, there's nothing like moving to make you do things like blog instead of packing.)

I've found myself lately on this path I didn't know I was on--the kind where one book you read leads you to another and then another and you end up deep into a forest of some topic you didn't really make some master plan to explore.

It started with a novel by Wendell Berry--slow-moving, incredibly readable, beautifully prosed (and with none of the guaranteed unsettled scenes of my favorite tv host's book club choices). I started with Hannah Coulter, one of the Port Williams novels, and got so into it that I kept reading more of Berry's Port Williams books: Jayber Crow, A Place in Time . . . as many of them as I could get to dig in deeper with all the shared characters. They're all farm books--lovely character-focussed reflections on changing farm life over the last 50 years. Not at all connected to my world--I live on the coast and tend to kill even house plants.

Then a friend recommended Michael Polan's The Omnivore's Dilemma--a farm book, but non-fiction. All about where our food comes from (without too many harrowing details about how crammed together the chickens are). Lots of thoughts about organic food (which I can never decide whether to afford) and farmers again, of course. More farmers. I couldn't put it down--and it poses these really challenging questions about the choices we make as consumers without ever offering any answers, which is annoying and freeing all at the same time.

When I put that one down another friend recommended Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. And that's where I am now--and it's a super-enjoyably-readable walk through one family's resolve to eat only what they could grow themselves or buy within 100 miles. More farmers.

And now I'm seriously considering having a garden of my own. I look at food in the grocery store differently because of these books. I live in California, but I'm actually considering paying attention to the seasons of food.

It's funny how books can take you somewhere you didn't plan on going. Even more hysterical, of course, that I've done most of this organic food reading while eating a daily intake of Taco Bell.

Here's to unplanned trips.

And Happy New Year, friends.