So far today, you’ve been up, out, worked, lunched, worked, called, worked, commuted. You texted your family about the dinner you planned. They will eat protein and vegetables, hot from the CrockPot. You will eat Cheez-Its in the car straight from the box because you won’t have time to go home before the volunteer leadership meeting.
After all, it’s Tuesday.
You check your texts as your tires rumble across the gravel parking lot to the Fellowship Hall. You stumble on that same gravel in your uncomfortable business shoes that you can’t take off because your feet stink from being shoved inside them all day.
You find the right door. You look for the sign in sheet. You smile politely at that one mom whose name you don’t know but she knows yours. You grab a nametag. You find a seat. Maybe you grab a roll of Smarties from the candy pile as your dessert.
The meeting begins. You talk about the newsletter. You talk about the fundraiser. You talk about who will put down the tablecloths. You stare into the middle distance when they ask for additional volunteers. You know better than to make eye contact. Besides, you already made three dozen brownies for that thing last month. Homemade brownies. Not even store bought.
The meeting goes long. You would at least like a bite of the CrockPot vegetables while they are still hot, but one of the moms in charge of training has one last thing. She’s going to teach you a fun song to sing with your children. She’s excited. She brought a ukulele.
You consider stuffing Smarties in your ears.
She starts to sing. You start to sigh.
Then … you pause.
She has a pretty voice. It’s high and clear and confident. She’s singing an end-of-night campfire song that’s soft and lyrical. One of the other moms knows the chorus and jumps in to sing along. They hum the in-between parts together.
You want to make fun of this, but they are charming. You think to yourself, “When’s the last time I heard a real person sing? Just sitting around the proverbial campfire? Just for me? Hell, when’s the last time I sang anything?”
The mom strums the ukulele and starts another verse. You feel your teeth unclench. You feel your shoulders drop. You start nodding your head to the rhythm. You hum along quietly with the chorus too.
You feel their voices in your body.
You forget about your stupid smelly shoes.
You remember why people have sung throughout history. You think of your ancestors singing hymns, singing songs while they worked, singing Christmas carols. You think about how long it’s been since someone sang to you. You try to remember the last time you sang a lullaby to your children.
Soon enough, the song ends. You clap and smile a wide and genuine smile. You compliment the lady on the ukulele and her cheeks flush pink. You hug her on the way out.
Then, you go home to load the dishwasher. You wipe down the counter and take out the trash. You check in with the children. You return that text.
After all, it’s Tuesday.
But that night, as you putter, shedding your dirty clothes and getting on your pajamas, you hum the song out loud, softly. You feel your breath moving, feel how your lungs and your voice box get warm. You turn out the lights and grin a little, thinking of the strum of a ukulele.
And you still feel the lullaby in your body as you put yourself to bed.
Hi. I'm Amanda Dobbs.