Mother's column – singing like a bird
Singing has always been dear to me. As a student, I even meet my husband-to-be because we work passionately on a songbook for our students’ association together.
However, before that time, singing is already something that we always do. My sister and I are happy members of the church's children's choir. It is called "The little harp", and, differently from what the name suggests, we can produce quite a bit of noise together.
We continue that tradition in secondary school. Full of enthusiasm, we sing as part of the school choir. The choir performances at the parent-teacher conferences are the highlights of our school life.
Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (9), Abel (7), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (1).
At home, we sing quite often as well: in canon when we do the dishes or randomly when we put on a cassette tape with beautiful music. And, of course, we sing after supper as well. All children are allowed to choose one song, including the little ones. Thus, we sometimes sing Christmas carols for weeks even though it is summer. On Sunday evenings, we regularly meet with the family to sing even more, both hymns and ancient psalms.
After my marriage, I join a small choir for a while. Timely or untimely, I always practice the high soprano notes.
But then Martha is born. She strongly dislikes high tones and plugs her ears with a large gesture as soon as I feel like singing. That isn't very encouraging. Also, I do not have that many free evenings anymore. Slowly but surely, the singing is silenced.
But one day, Martha is at the house of a friend. And somehow, the rest of the family yells "cuckoo" in all keys during the meal. Impulsively, I decide to dedicate an aria to it and rejoice: "Cuckoo! Cuckooooooo!" Then I remember that we have neighbours and the song is over immediately.
Abel looks at me surprisedly. "I barely dare to say it", he starts. "Just tell me", I respond good-heartedly, because our children should not bottle up negative things. I brace myself for devastating critique, but he says something completely different: "When you just sang, I almost cried. It was so beautiful."
I decide it is time for a change. Just start plugging your ears already, Martha. When I do the dishes this evening, I will kick off with an old song my grandma used to sing when I was younger. It's about a little bird which whistles to the glory of its Creator. It's about time to open my mouth and sing from the bottom of my heart!
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