One of the things that makes me not mind all of the errands, school drop offs and pick ups, and endless travels here and there, is singing in the car with my girls. It makes our trips more pleasant for all, seriously cuts down on the backseat fights between String Bean and Peanut, and reminds me of my own childhood. During road trips with my sister and mother, we would rock out in our ’71 Volvo wagon (yellow, with fake-wood interior and black vinyl seats), and whichever kid got to ride shotgun would hold a boom box on her lap, because the am-only radio wasn’t too reliable. We were singing Abba, the Grease soundtrack, The Bee Gees, John Denver. My girls are more partial to P!nk, Fergie, The Fray, with a little bluegrass thrown in to make their daddy and grandpa proud—primarily Crooked Still (I think their version of “Shady Grove” gets more backseat requests than any other song I’ve ever had in the car).
The girls are unaware, as they break songs down and try singing different parts, that they are learning about melody and harmony, or that they are carrying their mom down the happiest of memory lanes, or that they are building for themselves the exact same memory that I cherish. There’s a nice feeling of having come full circle, as I ferry them from place to place, with their sweet little voices singing song after song on the CD I’ve burned just for them. And it makes it just a little easier to get reluctant kids into those car seats to remind them whose turn it is to request a song. They’re always game for some back seat singing.