My daughter, Talia, has a charming habit of humming songs to herself. She will hum when she is doing something by herself, like helping set the dinner table or playing with her dolls. I don’t always notice it right away because it’s so lovely and pretty. When I do pay attention, I can almost always tell what song she is humming and hearing her can instantly brighten my mood.
The other day when I was under the influence of the predictable two-days-before- my-period-overly-emotional hormone spell, I was keeping busy in the kitchen (aka avoiding others so I wouldn’t lose it and say anything I would regret). I noticed Talia blissfully humming along while she colored her latest masterpiece. I literally stopped in my tracks and was taken back in time to when I was a child listening to my grandma Ruth hum in her kitchen. My grandmother was almost always merrily humming to herself. I would sing along with her in my head to songs from The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, or The King and I. When I heard my grandma hum, I always thought it meant that she was happy and joyful. It’s one of the most endearing qualities I remember about her, besides her warm smile and fabulous sweet-and-sour cabbage rolls.
My grandma Ruth died peacefully in 2001. When my daughter was born a few years later, I honored my beloved grandma Ruth by giving Talia the middle name of Rose. My grandma loved roses and had an “R” name so it was the perfect choice. So, to hear my grandma’s namesake hum just like she did is not only touching but also a little surreal and eerie.
I asked my mom if I hummed as a child and she said “no” and she wasn’t a hummer either. I can’t help but think about the weird fact that Talia hums just like my grandma did, but I find it pleasantly comforting. I’m not saying I believe in reincarnation or anything, but it certainly makes me wonder. I wish I could go back in time and watch my grandma as a young girl. Did she hum then? Was her personality anything like Talia’s? Sadly, I’ll never know the answer to that. Instead, I’ll just have to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of Talia’s sweet melody and relish the fond memories all that humming stirs up in my mind. I miss my grandma Ruth deeply and I wish she had the chance to meet my children, but it’s more than apparent that her joyful spirit lives on inside us.
*The picture above is of my Grandma Ruth and me when I was around the same age that Talia is now.