A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese Proverb
My youngest daughter, Lydia, has always had a song. At an impossibly early age, her older sister taught her to hum “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” As she got older, we always knew when she was awake in the morning because, like a little bird, she greeted each day with song. Early in the morning we’d hear her little voice warbling over the baby monitor—the sweetest alarm clock ever. At restaurants and stores she’d sing in the bathroom. Loudly. (I think she enjoyed the acoustics.) In second grade, she got in trouble for singing too much in class. It probably didn’t help that she was singing songs like “Cell Block Tango” from the musical, Chicago. (“You been screwin’ the milkman?”) And we still tease her about the song she wrote, at perhaps 7, entitled, “I want to be 16 or 18 or older!”. My darling want-to-grow-up-too-soon musical daughter. And now, after years of chorus and a few musicals and countless hours of singing, she’s finally there.
This year, as a senior in high school, she had to complete a capstone project. She opted to study opera. My daughter, the diva. I’ve always loved her voice, but now she sings opera and it blows me away. I don’t have a trained ear and can’t analyze her singing, but oh my goodness, it moves me. The rise and fall of her voice resonates, joyfully and achingly, somewhere deep in my being.
Tomorrow as she wraps up her senior year, she presents her capstone project and she’ll be singing. I’ll be there in the audience, tears brimming, proud and filled with wonder. How did my little song bird get to be this confident, accomplished young woman? How quiet our empty nest will be next year.