While driving the kids to their ‘Other Home’ on Monday night, we followed our tradition of singing the Star Spangled Banner.

Why do we sing that song? I’m not sure. Especially since there are so many other nauseatingly over-sung songs to pick from. Like Cum ba ya. It might be because we know most of the words. And since there are so many of us squished in the car, usually, one of us knows the parts someone else doesn’t know so that you can almost hear the entire song in continuity. Except for the last word. ‘Brave.’ We never sing ‘Brave.’

To someone listening in, like the guy next to us at the stop light who can’t stop staring at an entire carload of people singing The Star Spangled Banner at the top of their lungs with the windows rolled down because it’s too hot and the AC is broken, it might appear that we are half wits. Or, he could have just really hoped we would be shutting up soon so at the next light he wouldn’t have to hear us sing anymore. But in any case, we have fun, ok? And one time, over a year ago, when the drives were much, much longer and the time in between seeing each other was more like eons than days, one of the kids decided that if we sang slower and slower with each word, the song could last a long, looooooooooong time. And then that same child discovered that if we really wanted the song to last forever, or at least until we saw each other next time, all we had to do is never sing the last word. Brave. So we didn’t. And we don’t, still. Because if someone forgets and sings it, they get punched in the arm and we have to start all over again. And no one really wants to sing the whole song over again, because, hey! we don’t really like the song that much, so Alexandra will sing it alone, super fast and super high, sort of represeh’in all of us, and once all the windows are shattered and our eardrums are bleeding from the high decibels, we have arrived and it’s time to say goodbye. And the song is left hanging in the air until next time. Only we can no longer hear, so it’s irrelevant. But so very

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  1. This is a really cute story, a unique and touching little family quirk. I have a toddler who is just now really learning how to sing along with all the songs i/we sing to him. I can only hope it evolves into something this fun.


  2. thanx.

    toddler, eh? when my kids were that age they didn’t care so much that my singing wasn’t great. well, except my daughter – she asked me to stop singing once. “please, mommy….stop?”

  3. Lee———

    Some of your mini-essays on family and general subjects, like this one, are so fun to read.

    Love ya tons.

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