Burbling up

November 13, 2009

I was doing dishes yesterday evening and found myself singing again.

It’s kind of a big deal.

Singing used to be part of my daily life; I grew up going to church every Sunday, and singing hymns was my favorite part, perhaps because it was a relief from all of the being quiet and listening.  My Mom and her brother  both have wonderful voices, as did my Mom’s dad.  Grandpa’s voice was a rich, deep tenor, the kind of voice made to sing Christmas carols à la Bing Crosby.  My Dad has a better voice than he’d ever admit to, sings in the church choir with Mom, and tends to hum when working on projects around the house.  I took voice lessons in high school, sang in the choir in college, and even though I let the singing go in graduate school, I still sang around the house, especially when there was water involved.

Water used to make me sing.  I’d sing in the shower, I’d sing doing dishes, I’d sing watering plants and, yes, I’d even sing in the rain.

I sang to Teddy when he was in my belly, singing along to favorite songs I wanted him to know – folk songs, Beatles songs, pop songs.  I sang lullabies.  I’d stand in the shower rubbing my giant belly and hope with all my heart that he’d be okay, that he’d grow up to know about silly songs and sweet songs, that he’d find music that would speak to him even if it was music that he’d play too loud, that would drive me crazy.  I let hot water and music and hope pour over my belly.  It was, perhaps, a kind of prayer.

I sang to him in the NICU, when we knew we’d lose him, sang with a cracked voice one lullaby about how his daddy would buy him a mocking bird.

After that, I didn’t sing.

Not in the shower, not in the car.  Once in a while, last winter, I’d try to sing along to a favorite carol but it was always forced, and I gave up.  I was so grateful to that winter for the deep snows and the quiet, and maybe quiet is what I needed.  Maybe my voice or whatever it is that makes me want to sing in the shower needed to winterize before it could appear again, like the bulbs I planted in my flower bed this fall.

In any case, yesterday I found myself singing while I did the dishes.  My voice is creaky from lack of use, and more pitchy than it used to be.  Some notes are out of reach for now and will be for a while.  But a bit of me that was lost, that bit of me that wants to sing while doing the dishes, is coming back.

Fancy that.




  1. I take it as a sign that the joy is returning, even despite yourself.

  2. I’m glad. I’m sure that both your children enjoyed your singing. xo

  3. Erica, I cried thinking about you singing to Teddy in the NICU with voice cracking. I suppose I was crying for my loss as well as yours, thinking of all the times I sang to Henry when there was nothing else I could do for him and how I sang, voice cracking, at the last.

    May hope and joy rise with your voice.

  4. so glad that this moment came for you, that your voice sang out and the song flowed through you.

    i can really relate to this post erica. singing was so important for me as well. i sang to lev a lot. and have barely been able to sing since he died. those brief moments of song coming through me are like my reawakening to life that little bit and yet it’s still very hard for me to sing the way i once did.

    so glad that the water brought your voice back to you.


  5. It makes me want to sing to read this. And also, cry.

  6. This post brought tears to my eyes. It’s nice (and sometimes shocking) to get pieces of your self back. I’m sure both Teddy and Dot love to hear you sing to them.

  7. i cried reading this too. i sang the very same song to Finn during the hour i held him.

    something about finding shared experience in those things that – in my normal life – seem utterly unspeakable…

    glad you’re singing again. hope you sing for a lifetime.

  8. The minute I start singing hubby gets scared. I sing when I am sad, but I dang almost everyday to my little guy when he was in my belly as well.

  9. “Sang”

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