D ear Daddy,
On Fridays, you take us out in the car while Mom prepares for Shabbos. I wouldn’t mind helping out, too, but Mom says that the best help is peace and quiet and that means: no kids home.

We go to the park sometimes, or to the airport to watch the planes take off and land. And in the winter we often go to the shul on the corner of Harbor Street. Your friend is the gabbai. He’s there every Friday to supervise the cleaning guys, and he has a huge bunch of keys that gets Rafi all excited. (I don’t know why boys like keys. Stray keys. Other people’s keys. Whatever.)

One of those keys opens a room on the top floor. It has a slanted ceiling and a huge skylight; when it’s open we are practically outside with the birds. On clear days we can see all the way to the city.

The room is strewn with old benches and jalopy chairs. I choose an office chair with red padding frothing out of its seams. Rafi chooses a swivel chair gone so loose, it spins as fast as a top. And you busy yourself with the best thing in the room: the karaoke machine. You pop a disc into the drive and it booms to life, on volume who-knows-what. Rafi and I, we get off our chairs, and grab a mike. There are six of them snaking out of the machine, two mikes for each of us if we want — music paradise.
The song rocks the room; we belt along at the top of our lungs. We twirl around, swaying and bopping to the beat. The winter sun smiles in the skylight, bathing the room in its glow, and our dancing shadows drape over the floor and walls.

Still we sing. Our voices softer, rising effortlessly together.
I love singing. I love so many things too, like science experiments and just plain thinking. But you love singing best. I know because of your eyes; you tilt your head back and close your eyes halfway down over the fiery sparks inside. And sometimes there are tears too.
Rafi asks you about it, and you explain that crying doesn’t mean you’re sad. There are sad tears and happy tears and emotion tears that come from strong feelings like love or connection.
I think I understand what you mean, but I’m not too sure.
After a while you turn the volume dial down, and we talk, the music swishing around us quietly like waves.
I tell you some science stuff I read in a book. I explain that they’re called facts, because whatever is accepted as truth already is just that; a fact.
So in fact, that’s a fact, you say and we all laugh.

We are not the only ones who sing, I read that bats sing, too. They sing so loud that humans can’t hear them and don’t know that they’re singing at all. Think about it, I say, we could be walking in a cave with the most beautiful harmonies being sung right above our head, but we wouldn’t even know it.
Rafi shakes his head as if to say, isn’t it a crazy world?

But then you ask me about school, about the report card I brought home, where the teacher wrote that perhaps ‘branching out’ would help me with ‘social skills,’ whatever those are. I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t need to. I want to tell you this: The teacher doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand that I have everything I need, exactly as I am. Like right now, I have the smell of old wood in the room and the sun streaming over us, and you and Rafi and the music and the empty shul and the Shabbos Queen coming ever closer, as she makes her way toward our home.

Norms, Eight-ish (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 666)