The Voice of a Child

There was a lot of singing in our household throughout my upbringing. Perhaps more singing than cookies or candy.  My sisters and I joined in harmony at every holiday gathering, church event, ceremony, meal, and car ride.

Often, our voices would evoke tears from my parents. More from my Dad, than my Mom. She was always proud, but an honest perfectionist. The absence or presence of her tears was always the true litmus test, as only the most exquisite performance would bring them to her eyes.

To Dad, we were always angelic songbirds, never out of tune or without the glow of stardom.  Whether we were humming a tune while washing dishes or starring on-stage at 45th and Broadway, it was all the same to him.

But, if Mom cried….we knew whatever we did, it must have been good!  A perfect balance between the two of them.

In all honesty, I never quite understood the  reaction from either of them. Even with their explanation about tears of joy, I didn’t quite get it.

Today, as we ran errands, the familiar tunes of my hand-selected nursery playlist created during Zachary’s 34th week in utero played through the car speakers.  My own little songbird softly joined Ingrid Michaelson in her chorus of “Everybody“.

I found his reflection in the rearview mirror as he sweetly sang the words while watching the passing scenery outside the window. He wasn’t watching me with a grin, waiting for my reaction as he often does.  He wasn’t singing for my benefit, or for his sister’s, for that matter.

He was just singing. Quietly. Simply.

I cried.

My original intention for the end of this entry was a cliché button. Something along the lines of “And now I understand”.

But, I don’t. I don’t understand what lives in the voice of a child or how it works its magic, but I do know it’s art at its most raw.   Music at its purest.  Before we muck it up with our labels, contests, idols and awards.

The voices of ALL children.

And the voice of  YOUR child….

No words.

Maybe that’s why we cry.


8 responses to “The Voice of a Child

  1. Heather Vincent Larkin

    Pure love lives in the voice of a child. Pure love. My favorite kind.


  2. H singing along with me makes me tear up every time.

  3. I first read this post when I was in the midst of dealing with my oldest and the culmination of several bad decisions he had made. In a state of broken trust and frustration, reading this made me cry. At first, I just wanted to turn back time to be in that place where I was so joyful watching him. I came back to read it several times after that. In some way, it helped me deal with the frustration I was feeling to remember the innocently happy times too. Thanks.

    • Rita, I am so touched that this had that effect on you. your comments are always so thoughtful and so appreciated. I can’t imagine how hard it is once they get older and start making their own decisions. I am often at a loss with Zachary at 2 and a half as he pushes through finding his independence. I can only imagine how much harder it gets! I hope you guys are finding yourselves in a gentler place today. I have no doubt that all of your children will grow to be thoughtful adults with very good heads on their shoulders. But unfortunately, all our kids have to battle through adolescence first! Not fun times.

  4. My two girls were in a children’s choir last year. 6-y-o was shocked and joyful the first time she heard everyone singing together. I already knew from experience that it would sound great, having sung in choirs and played in bands before. Witnessing her moment of discovery… so cool.

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