I turned the key, and the radio blasted out Maroon 5, One More Night. Julia climbed in and we buckled up, on our way to her school drop off, then an off-site conference for me in downtown Providence. As the music blared, I sang along in my best over-exaggerated, high pitched Adam Levine voice- ‘got you stuck on my body on my body like a tattoo ooo like a tattoo ooo, and glided the car down our crunchy gravel driveway. Merry, chipper, almost giddy considering the 40 degree chill and the early hour. Julia looked down and snorted.
I was not going to let her pubescent moodiness blow my groove. It’s Friday and there is no reason for me not to be glad for it.
“Mom! Stop it!”
“What Jules? What is it?” I am almost officially perturbed. The music plays on.
“Stop singing to my music.” She tried to contain her rage, remembering my – it’s not what you say it’s how you say it – lecture, no doubt.
“Mom it’s just really REALLY annoying when you sing along to my music.” My little twelve year old girl looked up at me and pleaded with her cornflower blue eyes, inherited from her Papa Al, and able to focus on me just as intently as he could. As he can.
“Your music? This is your music?” How could music be hers? Music is for everyone, isn’t it?
“Well I’m sorry to annoy you, but this is my car and my radio and my music. If I want to sing along I’ll sing along and it’s just too bad for you.” I am wounded, and these words blow out of me like steam from a boiling teapot.
Julia looks out the window, away from me, as we drive to school. Silence. Just my song, excuse me, her song, finishing up, fading away.
“Have a good day, Sweetie. See you tonight, “ is returned with a grunt and the slam of the car door.
Her music. She has music. Music that isn’t mine. How dare she?
I get settled in at the conference at my assigned table with a coffee, and begin to mentally prepare for a day full of presentations and group discussions about Information Technology Leadership best practices.
A few more moments in my happy place when I’m suddenly thinking of my father whistling along to his easy listening favorites. It’s 1977, and the maroon Ford LTD station wagon with the wood panel siding is taking me and Kim and Joanne to a basketball game. Or a football game. Or a float meeting or confirmation class or something that should have seemed like a short ride but felt endless.
An Eternity of whistling along, while I looked out the window and pretended not be there. While Kim and Joanne tried not to giggle in the back seat. Yes it was wonderful of my Dad to tote us wherever we needed to go, without complaint. He enjoyed it, riding along with the girls, being as close as I would let him get into my life as a preteen and teenager.
Sometimes he would even hum or ‘do do do’ to music, trying to impress us with his deep baritone. I sat mortified. I wanted him to shut up and put on my music. My music, not his, mine.
I texted Julia. Sorry for the singing this morning. It is your music. Love you. The first presentation began and I got to work.