Mama’s Got Her Red Dress On

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Mama’s Got Her Red Dress On
Mama's Got Her Red Dress On

I’m getting ready to go out again – red dress, silver hoop earrings, black pumps. My children plead, “Mom, do you have to go? Can’t you just stay home tonight?” Lest you think I’m a middle-aged harlot sneaking off to the bars, let me set you straight. I’m off to choir. Yes, folks, mama’s gone and joined up with a choir, and it’s making my kids crazy.

My children have a picture of me. I’m not sure what it is, but it falls somewhere between reserved and downright stodgy. The fact that I am willing to stand up and croon my little heart out in front of an audience (wearing a red dress, no less) has put this picture on its face.

Now, my children’s view of me was not formed in a vacuum. I have never been one to get in front of a crowd and perform. I leave the embarrassing acts of entertainment to someone less self-conscious than me. But for some reason when I heard about this group of women who gather weekly to practice and perform, I just couldn’t resist. Call it midlife madness; my kids, who have had to endure my morning song while they eat their Cheerios, might call it punishment.

The ladies in this choir are very good singers, and what’s best for me is they allowed me to join without a tryout. I’m betting there will be a change in future policy. They’ve come to realize that this newcomer knows little about music beyond elementary school piano lessons, and that I have never performed in a choir before. I’m not sure, but I think I notice them wincing ever so slightly when we hit those high notes.

When I first told my daughter I had joined a choir, she looked at me in amazement. Not amazement of the joyful variety, more of the “You’ve got to be kidding” type. When I explained to her that I was doing this because it made me happy, she replied, “Couldn’t you have done a sport, like tennis or something?” Yes, I guess tennis would have been less embarrassing for their little sensibilities, but it really just doesn’t feel as good as singing “There is Nothing Like a Dame” with a sailor hat perched on my head.

I say all this as a note of encouragement to all of you feeling the stirrings of something more in your life. Believe me, if I can stand up with gloves and top hat and belt out “New York, New York,” then you can too. Or you can join that running group or write that next great American novel. Don’t listen to your kids or anyone else for that matter. Time to “follow your bliss,” as one great writer used to say.

My kids still turn their heads in embarrassment when I put on my red dress. This lady with the red dress and pumps (usually reserved for weddings and funerals) just can’t be their mother. But in the end, amidst the snickers, I hope there will be some pride. Pride that mama is doing what brings her joy, even if it is a little outside the box they have painted around me. And even if she does do it a little off-key.

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  • Mama's Got Her Red Dress On

    I’m getting ready to go out again – red dress, silver hoop earrings, black pumps. My children plead, “Mom, do you have to go? Can’t you just stay home tonight?” Lest you think I’m a middle-aged harlot sneaking off to the bars, let me set you straight. I’m off to choir. Yes, folks, mama’s gone and joined up with a choir, and it’s making my kids crazy.

    My children have a picture of me. I’m not sure what it is, but it falls somewhere between reserved and downright stodgy. The fact that I am willing to stand up and croon my little heart out in front of an audience (wearing a red dress, no less) has put this picture on its face.

    Now, my children’s view of me was not formed in a vacuum. I have never been one to get in front of a crowd and perform. I leave the embarrassing acts of entertainment to someone less self-conscious than me. But for some reason when I heard about this group of women who gather weekly to practice and perform, I just couldn’t resist. Call it midlife madness; my kids, who have had to endure my morning song while they eat their Cheerios, might call it punishment.

    The ladies in this choir are very good singers, and what’s best for me is they allowed me to join without a tryout. I’m betting there will be a change in future policy. They’ve come to realize that this newcomer knows little about music beyond elementary school piano lessons, and that I have never performed in a choir before. I’m not sure, but I think I notice them wincing ever so slightly when we hit those high notes.

    When I first told my daughter I had joined a choir, she looked at me in amazement. Not amazement of the joyful variety, more of the “You’ve got to be kidding” type. When I explained to her that I was doing this because it made me happy, she replied, “Couldn’t you have done a sport, like tennis or something?” Yes, I guess tennis would have been less embarrassing for their little sensibilities, but it really just doesn’t feel as good as singing “There is Nothing Like a Dame” with a sailor hat perched on my head.

    I say all this as a note of encouragement to all of you feeling the stirrings of something more in your life. Believe me, if I can stand up with gloves and top hat and belt out “New York, New York,” then you can too. Or you can join that running group or write that next great American novel. Don’t listen to your kids or anyone else for that matter. Time to “follow your bliss,” as one great writer used to say.

    My kids still turn their heads in embarrassment when I put on my red dress. This lady with the red dress and pumps (usually reserved for weddings and funerals) just can’t be their mother. But in the end, amidst the snickers, I hope there will be some pride. Pride that mama is doing what brings her joy, even if it is a little outside the box they have painted around me. And even if she does do it a little off-key.

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