My friend Slade’s voicemail says “Sing me a song…And make it pretty.”
The first time I sang into it I was in Charleston, SC – where we met. I was visiting my birthmother on what I then believed was the occasion of her passing.
I was in the parking lot of the hospital, walking to my car. His request surprised me. I tripped over my words, muttering something like, “Um….Um….I’ll sing this for my birthmom. ”
“The moment I wake up. Before I put on my make-up. I say a little prayer for you. .. Forever. And ever. You’ll stay in my arms and I will love you…”
It felt really good.
I am not a singer. However, since receiving that initial “invitation” to share my voice, I’ve been singing quite a bit to the people in my life. I don’t plan it. It just happens.
I told my birthmom about singing into Slade’s voicemail when I returned to the hospital later that day. She liked it. Then I sang her the Supremes.
“Ain’t no mountain high enough. Ain’t no valley low enough. Ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from you.”
She told me about the time that she and her husband were on the same plane as Diana Ross from Charleston to Detroit. It kind of became “our song.” I sang it to her again as I walked backwards out of the hospital room in my blue gown and gloves on the last day of my visit.
My birthmom didn’t pass. She is very much alive. And I’ve sung to her over the phone as she has been moved from hospital to hospital to rehabilitation center. Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” Suzanne Vega’s “Gypsy.”
I felt a little silly, but I couldn’t help myself. I told my friend Lynn about it. She reflected that, for her, it seemed a beautiful way to just “be” with someone when there is nothing left to say. Like the way they play cards in her family, as a way of just “being” together.
Last night I got a call from a young woman I know. She is pregnant and planning to give her son up for adoption. She is pained and extraordinarily conflicted – torn wanting to keep this child but also wanting what is best for it. She wanted to know about my experience. How I felt about being adopted. If I had ever resented my birthparents.
I told her my story. And I told her how my relationships with my birth parents have changed since they became real in my life – living, breathing, wonderfully imperfect human beings.
And when there was nothing left to say, but she was still crying and scared and alone, I said “I’ll sing to you.” And I did.