Singing with My Family

My parents left for Florida today. I stayed here in Henderson.

This is the first time in my life I won’t be celebrating Christmas with my parents, my aunts and uncles, my grandfather. And I’m sad.

Got me to reminiscing…

On Thanksgiving night this year we gathered around a fire in my cousin’s front yard out in the middle of nowhere. The sky was ink black and the stars were bright and everywhere. We couldn’t see each other’s faces, but we laughed and huddled together to stay warm.

Standing there in the cold, faceless but completely known, we sang. That’s what my family does. We sing. We sing when we’re happy, when we’re sad. If we’re together, we’re singing. It’s our identity. So that night we sang.

I remember thinking, “This is what we do best.” Like any family, we fight and compete for attention, but when we’re singing there’s no fighting, no competing, no jockeying for the next laugh. Every word, every note is shared. Singing unites us.

I love the way our voices mingle and merge, the way we blend into one another and disappear. When you sing with family, you can actually forget which voice is yours. You can lose yourself in the harmony. Suddenly, you don’t matter nearly as much as the song does. We serve one another when we’re singing.

My mom cried that night. She usually does when we sing. She misses Bobby. Our song misses Bobby. His voice is missing from the song. But I like that we sing anyway. And I like that the missing part makes the song more beautiful.

Anyway, I bet there’ll be singing in Florida at Christmas, and I hope my voice is missed. I’ll be missing the song.