There are a few irrefutable facts about me.
I love cupcakes, for one. Black and gray are my wardrobe colors of choice. I have incredibly wavy, hard-to-tame hair.
And I’m a terrible singer.
At this point in my pregnancy, I’ve been encouraged to speak to our baby. He can hear me, apparently; sometimes I shudder to think about the silly rants, crying fits and crazy stories Baby J is now privy to. Despite reminding myself that he doesn’t yet speak English, I’ve still been watching my tone and trying to sound, you know, soothing and mother-like. Is that a thing? Mother-like?
If I’m not telling him tales (which, I’ll admit, feels a little bizarre right now), I can sing. Though I have a voice that could probably shatter glass in its pure awfulness, my wee little one doesn’t know a Mariah Carey from a . . . well, from a me.
I don’t sing publicly — not even in front of my husband. Since a disastrous (and very public) chorus audition in elementary school, I’ve avoided any situation in which I might be expected to carry a tune . . . and be laughed off a stage. When I knew I had no future on stage with the cool kids singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at the holiday pageant, I picked up the keyboard and started playing bells.
The only exception came during my high school theatre days — back when I was bold and silly. I auditioned for a few musicals singing “Part Of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid,” a childhood favorite, but had no lofty ambitions beyond getting a bit part. Our director always took pity on me, tossing me in as a background character. I was never mic’ed.
And that was fine. We can’t be good at everything. I knew from childhood that I would never be one of those starry-eyed, tone-deaf dreamers foolishly auditioning for “American Idol”: the ones we all swear must have someone (a parent? friend? enemy?) telling them they’re just really not good, sweetie, yet they’ve managed to reach adulthood believing the opposite.
Despite all this, I love to sing. I’m actually really great at remembering lyrics — I just sound flat and horrible and scary while doing it. Artists like John Mayer are better for me; lower, deeper, closer to being “in my key.” Whatever that is.
But now that Baby J is, you know, hanging out with me all day, I’ve started questioning my music choices — and wondering if I’m doing permanent damage to both his hearing and psyche. The poor little guy is going to emerge with a terrifying fear of Maroon 5, Hanson, The Killers and Death Cab for Cutie; sometime around his fifth birthday, a latent memory of hearing me belt out an Ingrid Michaelson tune is going to cause an anxiety attack.
Inexplicably, I can’t stop singing “Tomorrow” from “Annie.” My sister performed the musical during her junior year of high school, and I swear that thing was a showstopper. I’ve seen the famous movie, of course (though not the remake), and . . . well, it’s just so catchy and relentlessly optimistic that I can’t resist it.
The sun will come out
Bet your bottom dollar that, tomorrow
There’ll be sun
Just thinkin’ about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow . . .
‘Til there’s none
I sing in the shower. I sing down the hall. I sing on my way to work, listening to an unrelated audio book — my voice melding with the narrator’s, creating a nonsensical mash-up. I hum the tune when I’m at my desk, then mouth along to the words invisibly while I answer emails.
It’s in my head all the time, basically.
So I guess it’s in Baby J’s head, too.
When I’m stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin, and grin, and say . . .
Oh, the sun will come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away . . .
Hey — maybe this is fate’s way of telling me he’ll be a sweet-tempered, curly-haired redhead. And an eternal optimist.
And he’ll probably explore all of this in therapy.
Sorry, little dude.