October 09, 2007 08:35 AM

Singer/songwriter Carly Simon, 62, sat down with Family Circle to discuss her two children Sally, 33, and Ben, 30, the things she remembers from their childhood and motherhood.

Her favorite family time activity:  When we perform together, like we did on Into White. We’re good at taking each other’s suggestions and criticisms–well, the criticisms are a bit more challenging, but we get through it!

Which song was inspired by her children: Love of My Life, which I wrote in 1992 but also included on my new album. The lyrics are: "I love lilacs and avocados/Ukuleles and fireworks/And Mia Farrow and walking in the snow/But you’ve got to know that/You’re the love of my life/From the moment I first saw you/The second that you were born/I know that you were the love of my life."

On the fighting her kids did: [They] fought terribly. Since Sally is three years older than Ben, she always bossed him around–until one day he fought back.  He actually slapped her on the back, and they both ended up crying.  For the first time he felt empathy for her, and she realized they were equals.  They’ve been close ever since.

Even though her kids are grown, Carly still sees them as babies: [When they] Are sleeping. It brings me back to the time when they were tiny.

On her kid’s favorite food: Drunken Pasta, which is noodles cooked in water and red wine.  I add olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.

A tradition that she remembers fondly: A bedtime ritual from when the kids were little.  I’d brew some herbal tea and carry it to their bedroom, where Japanese music would be playing.  They’d drink out of tiny teacups and we’d snuggle together in bed, where I’d read aloud to them until they fell asleep.

On her kids making fun of her: They make fun of me for having no iPod!  I love music, but I’m technically challenged.

The thing that baffles her about motherhood: That there will always be questions your kids ask that you won’t be able to answer.  I used to think, as I got older, that either I’d figure out all of the answers or they’d stop asking me the really hard questions, like where they should move to or how they should live.  But for some reason that never ends.

On the thing she wished she had known: That no matter how much you want to be your child’s friend, you have to be a parent first and foremost, especially when they’re young.  As they get older you learn to be a parent and a friend at the same time.

Sally and Ben’s father is singer James Taylor. Carly is also now a grandmother as daughter Sally gave birth to her first child, a son, on October 4th.

Source: Family Circle, October 1 issue, pg. 192

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