March 22, 2013

Minivan Momma Rock Band

Motherhood can feel a bit like a personality thief.  I've told you that this is my year of fun and part of that has been making some decent CDs to listen to in the van instead of listening to NPR all the time.  I love NPR.  Like, really love it.  But it's not exactly fun.  Right?  Okay, sometimes it's fun. Wait,Wait, Don't Tell Me is a Riot.  But the right music is like a mood altering substance that's still legal.

I made a CD of complete me music, without regard for what the kids want.  I know.  How selfish of me.  But I'm telling myself that it's part of teaching them to have good taste in music and part of them having a mom whose fuse isn't shortened by every car ride.  They'll learn to love it.  I certainly complained constantly about my dad's Dion Warwick mixed tape for years, but when I moved off to college, what did I ask for a copy of?  I know.  Right?  Who listens to Dion Warwick, anyway?  I did for a few years there.  Maybe it was part of dealing with leaving my dad's nest to find my own.  A little transitional sound track of sorts, so that I could feel like I was carrying him with me.  And maybe someday, when my kids plod off on their own life adventures, they'll bring a digital version of a mixed tape along, filled with RaRa Riot and Death Cab for Cutie, and think of mom and all those years she tormented them with killer tunes.  

But back to that minivan moment. I can't listen to good music without singing along really loud and dancing a little.  And it's hard to dance and drive, so there's usually some stop light steering wheel drumming instead.  And every now and again I catch someone noticing me rocking out at the light and I immediately freeze up and pretend like nothing is going on.  

But today, something came over me.  Maybe the year of fun has gone to my brain.  I pulled up to the light, head bobbing and hands drumming the steering wheel like nobody's business to Arcade Fire's Wake Up.  Go ahead and listen to it.  I double dog dare you not to dance a little.

So there I am, living in this song and reveling in the lyrics, when I glance over and there's a woman in the minivan next to me trying to look like she didn't notice me having a moment in my happy place.  And this time, instead of freezing up and looking ahead like a normal mom would do, I looked right at her and sang to her through the window, head still shamelessly bobbing with my furrowed rock-star brow.  And you know what?  She laughed and pulled out her air guitar.  And there, at the light in front of Macey's grocery store, I shared a minivan mommy moment with a complete stranger.  A moment suspended in time, where two tired moms in uncool vans with dirty kids behind us were back in the prime of our youth.  But all good things come to an end, and this light, too, did change.  We drove off and left our happy mommy moment in the dust.  

I feel like that was a little public service I performed there at the light.  Decided maybe I should sing to strangers at red lights more often and see if I can brighten their day.  But one should be cautious when serenading strangers while driving.  Maybe moms and elderly men only.  Teenagers would certainly scoff at a  mom behaving so shamelessly and I couldn't handle the judgment.  And, well, it probably wouldn't be appropriate to sing to men in any age bracket young enough to consider it flirting.  So maybe just men who appear to have escaped from the old folks home, because even if they did mistake it for flirting, that too is a sort of harmless public service, right?   

So sing it, mommies!  Form your own little minivan band and unite at stop lights!   Inject some fun into your day and see if you can't suck some random sour faced mom into your joyful little plot.  

If you need a soundtrack to get you started, try a little Arcade Fire, with a side of Mumford and Sons, and a dash of Ra Ra Riot.  That will do it.  Rock on, moms.  Rock on.


  1. LOVE IT! What a great little anecdote to start my morning. Thanks for sharing, Skyla! :)

  2. Thanks, Annie! Happy to get you started with a smile!

  3. I thought this was so funny and how I can relate!! I always freeze up when someone catches me rockin' in the car!!
    I'd love to have a video of that! Maybe you can HJ to video you next time!! THAT... would go viral!!!


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