Why Mothers Need to Sing More

We’ve been chasing the neighbors chickens out of our yard all week–they are fine creatures but they sure do make a mess. Not something one wants when training a little puppy who likes to eat everything that smells interesting. Life is crazy and lately feels like chasing chickens, so today I’m sharing one of my favorite mom memories from a couple years ago. I’m thinking of my mother and some others who have mothered me over the years and feeling tender about moments like these. Will you share one of your favorite mother moments in the comments? If you are not a mother, a memory of your own mom or a special woman who has made a difference in your life? I would love to hear your stories. These times are like diamonds–they shine brighter when we gather them together.


I don’t know what makes me do it. 
There is the steady snapping of the bean tips. The breeze stirring our hair. The blue of the sky and that honey sun.  He is sitting with me and we are working—only not hard. And I am thinking of my grandma. How she had nine of these—children—and how she must have needed every single one in the grit of that farm she and grandpa worked. How many beans had she snapped? And something in that cool smooth green makes me homesick. Homesick for a place I’ve never been.
And I don’t know what makes me do it, but I start to sing. I sing the song that held me during those long days in the hospital. The song that brought the breath of God into the pain until peace walked hand-in-hand with fear. 
I’ve never known that kind of fear. I’ve never known that kind of peace.
On Sunday the Pastor preached from Mark 6 where Jesus tells his disciples to, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest—and I know this is the rest he gives… this kind of peace that can cover fear. 
So I’m thinking all these things, trying to hold on to the gift I was given then and remembering the sour face of my grandmother—how her table was always full—and the song just comes. And I notice how he grows so still—like a deer listening for the sound of danger—and then his whole body seems to melt into the sky and the meadow grass and the air around us. 
And he starts to sing too. 
Soon, we are trading songs like conversation. We pass an hour this way—this thirteen-year-old boy and his mamma. Just sitting out back, stringing green beans, and singing. I think about that study that psychologist did—the one that found that sad songs are more popular today than they were in the 1960s and 70s. And I listen to these silly lyrics my boy has memorized and I wonder. 
I like the way it feels to give the wind my voice and he must too because he lifts his high. And as I’m singing with my boy, I remember. I remember there was a time when I would sing more—a time when they wanted me to—when their cheeks were round and full and I was their world. I remember bedtime lullabies and prayers sung and the way a song could change a moment. And I remember that little neighbor girl he loved so much—the one who would come over every day to play. I remember how she stood wide-eyed with wonder in my kitchen one day as I made music with my voice. How she shadowed me for hours after. 
And I watch my boy close his eyes and throw his head back—toss his voice out over that meadow. In this moment he is showing me his heart and I…
I think to myself…I need to sing more.

The winner of Elaine Olsen’s book Beyond the Scars is Joanne Viola who blogs at Days & Thoughts. Congratulations, Joanne, I’ll be in touch!


  1. says

    Sue, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sure you miss her very much. My mom liked to sing to us when we were small and it is one of my sweetest memories. I treasure this one with my boy 🙂

  2. says

    I think so too, Brandee :). I posted this two years ago, orignially, and I think you commented on it then too. Isn’t it amazing how time flies? How long have we been bloggy friends?

  3. smoothstones says

    I’m not sure how long. It’s all a big blur. But I feel like you’re kindred, and I’m so glad 🙂

  4. Jennifer says

    Momma’s songs go deep.. never thought i kept them in my heart. I sure didnt think so, anyway, til i managed to have a “go through” moment and out of no where it seems, it came. And then I thought of my grandma, and my mom altogether and realized why they sang and realized “sanging is like praying, sometimes… when you really look deep… it keeps ya… smile. Thanks for the memory…

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