Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Mom

Yesterday was my yearly visit to my dermatologist for a skin check. He and I are only three months apart in age, and usually have at least some dialog about who's older or how aging is affecting us. Yesterday the doctor told me he looks in the mirror these days and sees his father. I told him I feel the same way! I'm morphing in to my dad. A little harder for a woman to swallow than a man. Anyway, my point is that most all my genes come from my dad. Very few of my physical traits come from my mother.

The same can be said about my daughter. She gets very few characteristics from me. She has many more of her Aunt Kitty's features than mine. But there is one interesting trait that passed from my mom to me, and then to my daughter. The love of singing.

When I was growing up I would hear my mom sing all the time. She sang to songs on the radio. She sang to her favorite record albums. She sang loudly at church. But my favorite memories of Mom singing were times when she got together with her brothers and they played music. Guitars, banjos, mandolins, steel guitars; they would play for hours and hours down in the country on my grandma's porch. Or sometimes here in the city, if we were lucky enough to get everyone together. They played what I call mountain music. A mix of gospel, bluegrass, and country. The brothers would play and my mother would sing in her best Eastern Kentucky twang, until the sun went down and everyone was tired. As a child, sometimes this playing and singing would annoy me, but in later years I couldn't get enough of it. I even recorded my mom singing. Now that is a cherished memory of mine.

I shared my mother's love of singing. As a young child I would sit in our attic bedroom and play my sister's albums, learning the words to them all. As I grew, and we moved to a new house, I would sit in the basement for hours, singing and drawing. When I met Scarlet, we quickly discovered a mutual love for similar types of music. We were both raised on classic country; Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn. We also loved groups like Heart, and singers like Pat Benetar, and Crystal Gayle. Scarlet and I spent many evenings and weekends playing records and singing. Often, Scarlet would bring one of her guitars and play. To this day, Scarlet and I enjoy singing karaoke and whaling out our favorite songs.

I am so happy that my daughter, who is now 12 years old, shares this love. She sits at the computer or listens to her iPod, and sings along to all her favorite songs. Once in awhile, she'll even grab the karaoke mike. Tonight I heard her singing loud and proud and it reminded me of how Mom would come downstairs and catch me singing. At first I would be embarrassed, but Mom would say "Rare back and sing it, honey!" It never mattered how good it sounded; Mom loved to hear me sing. It doesn't matter how my daughter sounds either. What matters is the love of song, and the freedom and confidence to open your mouth and let your voice shine through.

I'm happy that this is a trait....no, a gift, that the three generations have shared. I hope it is one that will carry on for many generations to come.

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