True Story: When I was growing up, my mom used to sing classic rock songs to us instead of traditional “kids” music, or lullabies. The reason why I know almost all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody? Only because of my mom singing it around the house all the time. I used to think she was so weird. I mean, who sings Queen to their preschoolers? And how does she know all the words to it anyway? That song is so bizarre.
And not only did she sing us classic rock songs, she would make up her own words to them at times. She would personalize them and sing them about us, our siblings, our pets, whatever. It’s cute when you’re a kid, but when you get older and your mom is still singing songs about the cats instead of the real words to Smoke on the Water, it’s a little embarrassing. Also embarrassing? My dad playing air guitar and air drums when he would “rock out” to his albums. And not just in front of us. In front of my friends too. As a teenager, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide when he would do that. I mean, honestly, who does that in front of their kids’ friends?
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I appreciate the music I grew up with. I hear REO Speedwagon and Journey on the radio, and it brings back memories of being at home–all of us together, working on school work, or cleaning the house or something, or seeing my mom and dad rock out with their air guitars on the weekends in the living room. I love classic rock and I know I never would have without my parents’ influence.
It’s not just the music, though. I realize I appreciate my parents and how they raised me as well. Yeah, we were a little non-traditional. Yes, they embarrassed me countless times. But now I know I wouldn’t trade it-or them-for the world. And I am probably going to end up raising J the same way. When I was pregnant, my favorite song to sing to him in my belly was Don’t Stop Believin’. He liked it too–he would always kick and move around. He still likes it when I sing it to him. I realize now that my mom just sang us what she knew. Yeah, they weren’t “kids” songs, but she did it because she loved us and just wanted to sing to us and make us happy. I sang Wonderwall to J as his lullaby a few weeks ago. He didn’t know it wasn’t a traditional lullaby. He just liked hearing my voice. As I’m typing this, we’re listening to a Rockabye Baby CD–Lullaby Renditions of Bon Jovi. Earlier we had on Lullaby Renditions of Journey. Truth be told, I’d rather listen to this stuff than regular kids music, anyway. That stuff is lame.
Hopefully I won’t embarrass J too much as he gets older. But, I’ll continue on the tradition of singing rock songs and my own parodies to him. Maybe one day he’ll appreciate it like I do now. Just yesterday, I heard Bohemian Rhapsody on the radio and I had to smile as I sang along. That song will forever connect me to my parents, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(And now it’ll be stuck in my head for the rest of the day….”I see a little silhouetto of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?” What do those words even mean?)