I Can Make Your Hands Clap

I spent today questioning all of my life choices. Was I a good mom when the kids were little? Did I teach them the things that really matter? Could I have gotten a day job sooner and provided them with cars in high school instead of flip phones?

I stopped long enough to go get my last-born from high school at the actual time that school ended; my first small victory of the day.

I pulled to the curb, a quite-unemployed mom, and my very-broken son (ankle tendons hate to be snapped) put his “wheelie” into the backseat and wrestled his giant boot into the front. We took a moment to collect ourselves. There were kids and moms and cars everywhere.

As the school year winds down, mothers are trying to decide whether they will cry or rejoice or both or neither, and funneling that conflicted energy into a frenzy of summer planning. Depending on which way the wind blows, there will be bonding cross-country family road trips or individualized music or pony or surf day camps that entertain while mommy works the day job to pay for it.

Not many will do what we used to do: hunker down for our annual summer stay-cation and make plenty of koolaid.

One of my worries was: did we, in afterthought, drink too much koolaid?

We waited our turn to escape the parking lot while the kid commandeered my smart phone, said some magic words over it, and music played through my car speakers. I surreptitiously turned the volume down while he studied his choices. He skipped around, then landed on, of all things, the Barber of Seville.

I beamed at him as we turned onto the road, “Oh, I did do something right!”

The flashbacks to his third grade music lessons lasted only moments before he replied, “Yep, Bugs Bunny is a classic.”

Deflated, I reminded him, “Well, Rossini was real, and the fact that you can appreciate his music puts you ahead of a lot of other high school juniors.”

“I ask people once in a while whether they listen to opera, and I get the strangest looks…” he said.

He skips to Verdi’s Rigoletto, and we sway the car a little and try to hit the note that goes and goes and goes….

“I have no idea what he’s saying,” I say, “but it sounds like he’s having a good day. In Italian.”

I remember that our big plans to get our last driver permitted and practiced this summer have now been scrapped and replaced with physical therapy sessions. A car for him would be superfluous.

The music moves from Thomas Rhett to techno beats to Queen, then we’re HandClapping with Fitz and The Tantrums.

“I have no idea what he’s saying, either,” I admit, “but it sounds like he’s having a good day, too. In illiterate repetitive gibberish.”

I remember throwing all kinds of music at my kids, hoping their thoughts and horizons would keep opening and exploring and enjoying. I still wish most music came without lyrics. Much like a cross-country family road trip, there isn’t a need for running dialogue. Everyone gets to put their own spin on it.

“You don’t even know,” sings the kid.

We pull into the garage to the inspiration of the “Rocky” movie theme song. Even the car is motivated.

No, I don’t even know. The summer will bring what it will and the music says to look forward, not backward.

Rich with family time, exploring ways to get our feet back underneath us, and a run to the store for koolaid comes to mind.

That can make my hands clap.

I wrote this at the end of MAY, people…. Whattayagonnado?

Comment (1)

  • Pat Tunnell| August 7, 2018

    Life in the fast lane.

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