Saturday, January 28, 2006

I never thought it'd be like this...

I had visions of myself through my growing up years doing various things: singing professionally, living in New York, having men fall all over themselves because of my talent and witty conversation because I wasn't much to look at, etc...

I never thought that by this time in my life, I'd be writing a blog on a (more or less) daily basis, living in Washington DC, working as a secretary, singing with a big band that plays nursing homes, and being a "one-woman man" with someone I had been friends with for eons before anything serious even happened.

But the thing that's most surprising?

I never thought I'd be an aunt to three wonderful children like Courtney, Cameron and Chloe. And it's different being an aunt to them because I don't have kids so therefore, I focus on them. My Aunt Florence was also childless, but I remember her threatening to tie my neck into a pretzel knot if I wouldn't be quiet.

And the most surprising thing of all as far as "auntdom" is concerned? I have become the one thing that is usually reprehensible to me. I've become a human jukebox. I don't even take money...all those wee squabs have to do is feel sad, and I ask, "Do you want me to sing to you?" and the requests come flying out of their mouths.

Now, granted, the "jukebox" thing is under my terms to a degree. Courtney has decided she likes it when I sing "Tracks of My Tears" and "Heard It Through the Grapevine", so I am educating them on the wonders of Motown. Chloe's request was "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?", but she usually likes most anything.

Also, the thre kids like it when I sing "Rubber Duckie". However, they're mad because I can't audition for "American Idol"; I'm over the age limit. I told them I wouldn't do it anyway because Simon's a jerk and says mean things to people, and that's no way to nurture talent.

Why is this transformation so weird to me? You see, when I was younger and feeling my way around what I liked/didn't like to do, I would get really mad when my dad's side of the family wanted me to sing at special occasions. I felt that since they made fun of me for being overweight and my oldest male cousin relished calling me ugly, they didn't deserve much else from me. I didn't want to be a trained seal for them. I saw no purpose in singing for people that did nothing but tease me and make me feel badly about myself at an awkward stage in my life. My parents and sister didn't get it, and many fights ensued between us as a result of it. But my feelings didn't change.

When my cousin Mike passed away, I was asked to sing at his funeral. I did. I cried through all my songs, even with my dad sitting in the choir loft with me. But that faction of my family never bugged me about singing for them again. I figured they saw my pain, and they figured out that maybe they should just give it a rest for a while.

But now, for the three "C's", it's like Teresa Brewer says: "Put another nickel in..."

Your favorite redheaded human jukebox,