It was like old times.
#TheDghtrUnit commandeered the shower and began belting songs, experimenting beyond her resonant alto. It was 11-something PM.
The nocturnal concert seemed to be in the next room instead of down the hall as it had been the years B.C. – Before College. Either the collegiate vocal training was paying off, or she was in my bathroom.
You know the answer.
Actually, it was both. The vocal lessons WERE paying off which made the unfettered exaltations exhilarating. She was practicing something from her upcoming university Christmas concert. Something classical. She’d been regaling us with snippets for a couple of days during her holiday break. An eclectic music set in Latin and Spanish and Swahili as
well as English. She and her mother share steroid-induced lung capacity (another story) and passion for dissecting singing singers and styles like NFL studio analysts. Me, I just love to hear them sing. My own Maria Callas. My personal Marian Anderson. (I was going to suggest the classical penchant was the subtle influence of church-mate Ailyn Perez back when she came to the child’s pre-school graduation at the turn-of-the-century; but I’ve always thought name-dropping is gauche.)
The aria was comforting. (It wasn’t technically and aria, but work with me.) It was a lullaby for a work-day. Warm cocoa for my soul as I nestled, all snug in my bed. The song faded with the last of the hot water. And then…
“LASSSSST CHRISTMAS, I GAVE YOU MY HARRRTTTT!”
Why not just throw ice on the mattress and shove me in?!
It’s not that I minded the genre change. It’s that of all the Christmas songs she COULD have bellowed, THAT song is my least favorite. Loathe, is more accurate. My Swift disdain was amplified a few days later when teaching a Sunday school class for middle schoolers. During a conversation about favorite Christmas songs one of the students (okay, a girl, he said in his eighth-grade reversion) gleefully proclaimed the same tune as her favorite. Gleefully, as in the Glee version. Yet, another dagger from #TheDghtUnit’s independent past.
So, in an effort to cling to any hope that my open-minded, tolerant persona remain, I – myself – found the YouTube video and we listened to “Last Christmas” in class, analyzing the lyrics to discern what makes a Christmas song about Christmas. I found a compatriot. A 12-year-old with a prepubescent squeak.
“That’s not a Christmas song!”
Or was that my squeak?
The femme-propelled conversation led to a different appreciation of why THAT song is popular…at least among lovelorn lasses; and in her absence I gained new insight into my daughter.
SOLO SAMPLE: “What Child Is This?” — Cami Myers
As the week progressed, I eased my way back in audio media. Since November 7, I had been, let’s say, fasting from all things radio lest I stumble upon political pundits or just voices in general that would harsh my mellow. Be careful hairy ears what you hear.
Aside from my shower the visiting #ChildPerson had also pilfered my auto. Anyone familiar with, or honestly recalls, the teen-borrowing-the-car syndrome recognizes the state of my radio when I next turned on the engine.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT song. It was, however, THAT loud. I punched the “off” button, and my mind turned on. This was not one of her usual atonal, atonal bombardments. She had locked in a Christmas station. A Christmas station. And this had begun a month before. I noticed when she was home at the end of the Trimester. This Christmas music on my radio, and in my house. Right after Halloween. Christmas music. Initiated by the daughter! MY cynical offspring who throughout her middle and high school years ranted whenever WalMart began putting up Christmas product in October.
“CHRISTMAS MUSIC SHOULD NOT BE PLAYED BEFORE Halloween! GIVE THANKSGIVING RESPECT!” (Had she thought about it, she’d have hashtagged it.)
That was in the year of our Lord B.C.
Now, freshman #AugieDaughter had locked in the Christmas music station even before the election. “(One of her friends) converted me,” she said. “Converted me” are not necessarily encouraging words to a parent with child at college less than six months; but context must be kept.
“I LOVE Christmas music!” She sighed and stretched, unfurling from the sofa in our den which she was surreptitiously converting (that word again) into her bedroom a few weeks before. #AugieDaddy had awakened her – before noon. He shut off her frozen-in-time Netflix sitcom binge that had ended hours earlier. He sat. Intuitively, she put her head in his lap. A diversion. In the absence of “That 70s Show,” a Christmas music channel began in the background. Something like, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” became soundtrack for the dreaded, expected daddy-daughter talk. Like, think you’ll ever let me see your grades (from this college I’m paying for but – quote — legally have no rights to see)? Or, where are your receipts from yesterday? Or, yes, dear, I know the gas light is on. And, I haven’t driven all week.
“It’s the most wonderful time…”
The fact that her answers were most unsatisfactory was made palatable by the lyric.
This we share, this R & R in Christmas sounds…like she and Mom’s musical critiques. Our melding is abiding in the comfort and peace of the Christmas cocoon. Perhaps it’s more because of the current state of affairs. Maybe it’s all the transitions of the previous months. Maybe it’s because of the Finals of the Electoral College more than the academic one. Maybe it’s absorbing that the little girl singing in my shower a year ago is a burgeoning young woman.
Whatever (in the most positive use of the word), as each recycled yuletide playlist fades up on my radio, I find myself more appreciative of the sounds of the season (and the seasons we have endured) THIS Christmas than I did – dare I say? — last Christmas. So, I listen. Gleefully.
(To be continued.)