My mother Helen and I with my son Aaron, Christmas 1977
Well, it happened; I wasn’t sure when the tears would come, but sure as it’s the Christmas season, that feeling of happy sadness touched my heart. I blame it on James Taylor singing this song. (Sappy. Cheesy. But true.) Out running errands, turning left into the rainless sunshine cracking through the clouds, the sound of that familiar voice crooning the familiar lines takes me back. Back to the sound of my mother singing, any time, anywhere.
Although my mother’s been gone over 30 years,I can vividly remember her standing in the kitchen, joining in when she heard Johnny Mathis on the radio, her throaty alto sounding the bass line. She loved the soulful singers of the day–Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and especially Harry Belafonte. (The Banana Boat Song. ‘Day-O!’) Although we couldn’t even afford a record player or stereo, we did have a radio. One. And it was on most of the time. Her appreciation of music and song rubbed off on me and my four siblings.
Family and friends will tell you I’ll pretty much burst into song at the drop of a hat. (Just ask my grandkids). My brother, sister and I were all in glee club before it was cool, and my mom came to all of our concerts. And because she was determined to expose us to ‘good music’ she made it a point to take us to free concerts in the Southern California area where we grew up. Each year one of the outdoor malls had special Christmas concerts with full choir and orchestra. I think this is where I first heard Handel’s “Messiah.”
The Christmas music my mother enjoyed most was sung by Andy Williams and Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and others. I wonder today what she might think of the likes of JT singing the songs she knew so well? (Yes, he has a recording of that song, too.)
I think she’d be overjoyed–which makes me smile (and sometimes cry).
I think she’d also enjoy Josh Groban and Andrea Boccelli. Probably Michael Buble (ah, sappy again.)
I miss my mother very much, especially at Christmas, but I’m grateful for the gift of music and song she gave me so very long ago.
And I’m grateful to my Saviour that I now know the One I was singing about all those years ago.
5 thoughts on “The Gift”
Wonderful, wonderful post!
you're so sweet. My children do many wonderful things that make me proud…
Ah … how we miss our sweet moms. I enjoyed reading this beautiful piece, Jody.
I'm thankful for MY mother who has passed on that legacy of loving music and exposing me so much to it when Aaron and I were younger. I will be forever grateful and happy to pass it on to MY children, I love you for that 🙂
What fond memories you have of your mother, and what a wonderful, lasting gift she gave you through her love of music. Merry Christmas!