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Sing Us The Song You Sang At Your Mother's Wedding!

Go on, you know the one, the song that brought tears to the clouded but still brightly shining eyes of your grandmother, a strong harsh woman with a golden core of pure love, who was the first to stand and applaud the shaky voice of your childhood self. The same woman who birthed your father, raised his unruly brothers and kicked you into shape too when the time called for it. The woman your grandfather left after realising he was no match for her fiery spirit, although he always did hold himself differently around her regardless, he knew within himself she was still the boss, especially at the family events you were dragged into, the youths of the wider clan paraded to show some charade of familial success, accented by copious amounts of drinking and sly slagging of siblings both young and old.

Sing us the song you sang at your mother’s wedding, go on, you know you know the one! The one you sang a few years prior too, was it a funeral or a christening? When your voice cracked almost the whole way through due to both pressure and puberty, not helped by the snickering of sisters and berating of brothers in response to the relief they felt in not being the ones on show (you always were the first one to be chucked up to the top of the table to trial what tunes fit the crowd and what didn’t). Your cousin joined you then, remember, with his fiddle, in some attempt of rescue or solidarity at least, and ye did get the crowd going in the end after those nerves were halved through being shared.

You wouldn’t remember your mother before you were born, of course, but she’d sing the same song to your da when times were good; we’d hear them chortling down the street like a chorus of two caged heifers held by the tit by a false calf with a bucket, usually until one of them fell over, and it’d start again, that singing, echoing through the cobbled streets glistening with the dew of the early morn as they dragged each other home. Often I’d hear the same tune being hummed the next afternoon, accompanied by headaches and fond yet misty memories of the divilment, and the aroma of the tea tinctures and toasted slices of redemption – but that was a time before yours.

She’d sing you that same song you sang too, when you were no bigger than a healthy pup, and you’d whine like one too til she’d console you with that airy voice of hers; a voice that could console even the screaming babes of those who hadn’t enough for themselves, let alone another that needed food and love that wasn’t there. Times weren’t as abundant then, she struggled, your mother did. Full bottles were fewer than empty ones, but still she sang with the same heart and gusto as one full of warmth and whiskey, as though unaffected by the loss of almost everything she once had. Your da wasn’t around much then, maybe thankfully so, as resentment can seep into a child quicker than any cool draught or hot stove that mothers do worry about.

Do you remember the song you sang at your mother’s wedding? She looked like a dream in her white lace and ribbons, her skin did glow against the pure cloth, those cheeks pinched pink by your granny to make her blue eyes even bluer – she could’ve been a model if it wasn’t for her having chaps, but that’s the way it goes isn’t it kid? I can’t remember the last time I saw a woman so certain within her uncertainty; she always had that calming presence about her that must’ve come from her willingness to accept a lack of knowing. And sure she sat in that same presence as you sang that tune, the same tune she had sang once to you, to your da, even to herself when the time called for it.

Go on, sing us the song! The song she sang to the wee babes she had not so long after her wedding, t'was hastily had to avoid the inevitable judgement of others toward a couple with three children out of wedlock. I’m sure you sang it to them yourself as well, old enough to take on some of the responsibility, but not old enough to gain any real reward nor gain from it, other than a vague sense of resentment, the resentment you inherited from your father, for these copies of themselves, two screaming interruptions of your life. I’m sure there was love there too, but life is hard for a big brother that didn’t really get the chance to be small.

You sang that song through your years, your da would sing it with you too, sometimes, mostly when whiskey and cards were involved; but that didn’t take away from the connection ye had when ye did. You have his eyes you know, the same eyes that watched your mother with adoration and watched you with cautious love. He thought he’d break you when he first met you, when you were a wrinkled screaming mess in the back of his car, before your granny or anybody else knew you existed. He held you and your mother as he sang that song she once sang him, and he did try his best to love you all, he did. Tis a shame he hadn’t the head for it, he would’ve made a great da if it weren’t for the beast he became through his anger once the bottom of the bottle was reached.

Sing us the song you sang at your mother’s wedding, go on. She’s gone to bed now, she won’t cry when she hears the words she once crooned to your da when they were fresh-faced fools in their youth. He would’ve wanted to hear that tune once more, even in his harsh ways, he had a soft heart for the music and a softer heart for you, he told me he did, before he went. He won’t mind now if your voice breaks or your eyes water, neither will we, so go on, sing us the song you sang at your mother’s wedding, so we can leave this place with our heavy hearts held higher by the sweet tune that lasted through his liftetime.


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