I like to sing.
I’m not saying I’m good at it. But when has an obvious lack of talent ever stopped anyone in this country?
Among other things — long jams in the shower, loud, impassioned renditions on car rides — it means the boys get lullabyes before they go to sleep.
I pick some strange shit to sing to them.
One of the sad truths of getting older is that song lyrics don’t stick to you the way they did when you were younger.
A stranger with a boom box introduced me to Men at Work one summer afternoon. My first girlfriend had a thing for the lead singer of Dead or Alive, which means I kind of hated the song, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” for more than one reason. The only time I ever hit that tricky high note in “Take on Me”, I was in my friend Ervin’s blue Toyota Corolla as we drove to a party, where I got really drunk for the first time.
Music has always been important to me. But never so much as it was in high school and college. So my go-to songs, when I sing to the boys, leans pretty heavily on 80s era everything. New wave. Alternative. Rock.
And sometimes, just plain crap.
Jack is at that age where he asks for what he wants. Usually repeatedly.
Before bed, he always wants a story — usually as many as he can negotiate — and a song. Reid just gets subjected to whatever I feel like singing. But I mix it up for him, trying to find something that he seems to like.
Jack’s usual pick is Crowded House. He likes the song, Mean to Me, which he calls “She came all the way from America” because young children things song titles should be more straightforward than they ever are.
She came all the way from America
Had a blind date with destiny
And the sound of te awamutu
Had a truly sacred ring
Now her parents are divorced
And her friend’s committing suicide
By some miracle, he doesn’t ask me why she came to America or what destiny is or why her parents got divorced or why her friends is going to kill herself.
As many times as I’ve listened to this song, I don’t know that I could give him anything approaching a good answer. Or tell him why there is 1:30 of nonsense at the beginning of this video.
Reid gets The Cure.
Lara was out one night last week and I was doing the two room tango, trying to get the boys down. Jack cried, then Reid cried, and I scuttled back and forth, singing to one and then the other and wondering why neither of them appreciated sleep in the same way that I do.
“Pictures of You” was the song that popped into my head as I started to rock Reid to sleep. It’s tamer, as far as Cure songs go. No images of giant spiders or dark shadows or Arabs being shot on a beach.
But still. It’s The Cure.
Every now and again, I have this flash forward of a potential future.
And I think about the days they get married and I shuffle my old body up to the stage where the band plays and sing these songs one last time to my boys.
It’s sweet but highly unlikely.
But I’ll probably put a request in to the band, take Lara’s hand, lead her out to the dance floor and sing softly in her ear as we turn in each other’s arms.
Have any favorite songs from childhood? Any weird songs you sing your kids? Share them in the comments.