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  • Writer's pictureOlga Lehmann, PhD

SHORT STORY. On finding the right cheer leaders.

My little nephew Matthias, two years and a half, has a crush on me, and it´s reciprocal.

He´s in Colombia, I am in Norway. So, I´ve been creative in finding ways to nurture our relational depth. From the day he was born till he became about one year old, I would call every week and sing to him a very simple tune "Matthias ama a la tía". I was unsure if he would remember this or remember who I was when he would see me in person, and of course, he did. When I met him in Munich in 2018 for the holidays and sang to him, he clapped immediately and smiled.

Now, since the spring of 2020, and because of the uncertainties and challenges that COVID19 brings for my family and for me, we are doing video calls every day, once Matthias wakes up.

If I don´t pick up the phone right the way, he would ask "Where is Tota?" (My nickname). When I return the call, he would give me the biggest smile and welcome, and now we have developed other singing rituals more on fashion.

Not to anticipate you any longer, our repertoire consists of Baby Shark (of course!) and La Vaca Lola. When I say that I gotta go, he just says "no te vayas", and ask for La Vaca Lola again.

For someone who has her share of trauma with singing, as I would hear several times at school that I was "not good enough" in it, this ritual, and Matthias support to me, is healing.

Actually, and because one of my personal life philosophies is "It´s never too late to have a happy childhood", I´ve started taking singing lessons this year.

Today my singing teacher and I were practicing some stanzas of "Te Vi" from Fito Paez.

Titi, do you want me to sing Fito? I asked when I returned his call. Of course, he wanted his "Baby shark". Yet, after just another round of Baby Shark and La Vaca Lola, I decided to share some Fito Paez anyways, and he loved it too! He was dancing in bed and mumbled a melody of his own. Now we have made an agreement with my sister that she will play some Fito now and then for him to get more familiar with it.

Calm your horses, people, I´m not ready for having more audience for my songs at the time being, so do not have any high expectations of me singing in public short term. I am genuinely shy and shaky when working with my voice and letting go of my fears. Therefore, I feel proud of myself for showing up in class and feel vulnerable there. For now, Matthias keeps having the golden ticket to my concerts. This note was mainly about sharing my gratitude to him, for the boost of confidence he gives me, as well as to share some of what makes my days poetic and motivates me to delve into the uncertainty of when will I be able to visit my family in Colombia again.

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