I was recently out with some friends of a mum friend of mine when the topic of “What’s the best moment of your life?” came up. I had half an ear to the conversation whilst my mind began a-whirring, searching my memory bank to find that one, truly important moment which surpasses all others. There was my wedding day, the birth of Sammy, an amazing honeymoon adventure, even getting our beloved pup, so just what was I going to pick?
It all too soon became my turn to share, we’d had wedding, we’d had offspring, was my moment allowed to be the same as another’s moment, I mean, what were the rules here? I didn’t know these people, except of course my friend, was this something they regularly did? Was there a set format to follow? The terror was rising. The fear set in. And so I did, what I like to think many others, besides me, would do in this situation, I completely panicked and blurted out the first thing that came in to my head…
“Sing-along Sound of Music”
Well that was a conversation killer. Surprisingly not.
Someone had just told us about the beautiful moment of skin-on-skin contact with their premature new-born and seriously, I have a whole thirty-something years of wonderful memories and all I could muster up was sing-along Sound of Music? WTH? What was wrong with me?
Now, don’t get me wrong, sing-along is a rather epic experience, and I should know having done it at least three times. That moment of quietly chanting “She’s coming, she’s coming” as Maria is just a tiny spec on the horizon, a dot even, some might say, building up to that crescendo “SHE’S COMING, SHE’S COMING” as the camera zooms in on the mountainside, she eventually arrives, yes, there she is, there! and finally those memorable notes we all love so well are belted out. I mean, it’s the stuff goose bumps are made of. And oh my word, pulling that party popper when Maria and the Captain finally kiss (I’m pretty sure I’m not releasing any spoilers here) well, words can’t actually describe the sheer joy that instant brings. But, best moment of my life? Say what?
Upon returning home, my shame following me out of the door of the soft play cafe, I began to ponder just why this had been my gut reaction and was immediately flooded by fond memories, of not just singing along but, of the Sound of Music as a whole.
I was brought up on that film! My sister and I regularly took turns to wear mum’s veil as we acted out our favourite scenes, with the neighbours, the memory of passing the mantle to my oldest niece, who loved Maria just as much as we did, but for years thought she was actually called “Doe a deer”. That first, virginal, time I sang along, dressed up as whiskers on kittens, with my mum and sister, achieving my inaugural First for an University article I then wrote about the experience, celebrating with a fellow journalism student, and good friend, in the campus bar. The exhilarating afternoon when I introduced this, oh so, serious piece of cinematography, to my candlelight Kant reading flatmate, I’m convinced he enjoyed it! The dear friend who arranged for the von Trapp grandchildren to actually, in real life, sing happy birthday to me, the pride I felt when a talented friend played lead piano for the show in the West End and the surprise upon hearing songs from the show being mixed with drum and bass for another birthday treat, by another flat mate. The hilarious themed drinking games I’d invented, with friends, in our halcyon, early London days, shouting out “FREIDRIK” in bars across our nation’s capital, how I’d even walked down the aisle, wearing my own veil this time, to Maria’s wedding march, on my very own wedding day, and the fact that I now sing ‘My Favourite Things’ to Sam, when he gets upset, a nod to my former self and how I used that song as a mantra to get me through so many trying times in life, especially on the surgeon’s table during our rounds of IVF.
And so I started to realise that the Sound of Music was more to me than simply a film, or an experience, it was indeed the embodiment of many people incredibly special to me. A shared moment in time between myself and so many others who have touched my life and continue to do so today. A reminder that we don’t need one, single, defining moment to be the best of our lives because, actually, what’s best about my life is the continued wonderful, joyous occasions which I’m fortunate enough to have happen every day! Those truly are, oh you so guessed it, my favourite things… BOOM!