When I was in college I auditioned for a production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood. On my application, under “other skills” I wrote “I don’t sing.” Because I don’t.
Oh, I did the requisite high school musicals, singing in the chorus, and I love singing carols, but only if there’s a tenor I can hide behind (the tenors get the melody, and my alto voice can follow along). But not real singing, like when someone can actually hear you.
Because the director of Under Milkwood is who he is*, he took this as a challenge. And so I became one of the few people who has ever had the chance to sing in the MIT Music Library. Which is awesome. But doesn’t really change the fact that I didn’t sing in public.
But then my girls were born. And now I find myself singing roughly constantly. I sing the Beatles. I sing hymns. I sing wordless ditties that at their best could be called scat singing, and at their worst sound like I’ve forgotten how to use language (I have to admit, sometimes I am so tired that I do forget how to use language). I make up little ditties that narrate the day, and I sing songs that have gradually evolved to have their own verses. But I sing. All the time.
I always hoped that my kids would grow up with music, but I never envisioned this different world in which I sing all the time, without (much) self-consciousness, whenever the girls are fussy, when I’m trying to get them to go to sleep, when I’m walking them to the library.
Part of it is that I’m too tired to be embarrassed , and it’s a way to interact with two babies at the same time when I’m short on hands.
But I’m enjoying it a whole lot. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks.
* Full disclosure: many, many years later I married that same director, and now I sing, so apparently he was right to take it as a challenge.