Often, after an evening drive, we'd pull in the driveway and if there was a impressive aria coming up, my dad would park the car and no one would move. Our backyard separated the house from the driveway and if we were to get out of the car, it'd take us so long to cross the yard, unlock the door and turn on the stereo that my parents would miss their favorite part. So the four of us would sit in the dark, quietly, with my parent's ears cocked towards the speakers until the piece was over.
Despite my years (eight of them!) playing clarinet in concert bands and, yes, marching bands, I never quite developed the same degree of adoration for classical music. I did, however, develop a love of music that encompasses dancing, singing, playing, and writing. I'm the person who sings along (quietly) in dance class, I often look up song lyrics and I've sung in choirs in Spain, Bolivia and every city I've lived in in the U.S.
Many of my fond memories throughout the years are tied in with music. Harmonizing on Indigo Girls songs with my roommates, making up dance routines with my twin, dancing to Latin Pop in Bolivia and singing along to "Piano Man" with my friends in Seville.
Ever since my kids were born, I've sung them the same lullabies my mother sang to me. I've also thrown in a few tunes by my favorite singers that Monkey now sings with me. I've realized having a love of music is helpful for raising kids. When I'm tired and grumpy during dinner time and get up once again to clean up spilled milk, I put on some music and dance for my kids. I make silly faces as I get the paper towels and swing my arms while I get fruit out for dessert. They laugh their heads off and the tension dissolves. The best part is when they start imitating me from their seats at the table. Swinging their arms, shaking their heads and swaying from side to side. When a song I like comes on the radio, Monkey will say, "Mami! It's your favorite song!
Monkey often says that he doesn't dance, but last week, he performed for me using our carpet as a stage. It was great to see how comfortable he was with his body and to see him peel back a layer of shyness. Munchkin, I can see, already has the dancing gene. When there's music, she starts jumping and swinging. I hope that when they get older, we can talk about song lyrics and harmonize on car trips like my sister and I did. I have a feeling that when we are home and hear a favorite song, I too will stop everything and say, "Let's dance" and they will.