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Father’s Day – Thank You for the Music

It’s Father’s Day, and for those that have followed my blog, you are aware of the love and admiration I have for my dad. Although we speak regularly, it has not been easy living in different countries. There are things I miss about him – his quiet way, his cooking – but what really saddens me is the time he and my son are missing together. I tell my son stories about his grandpa, show him photos, and remind him of all the times they wrestled around as superheroes and played on the beach. And now with the sweet pea that will make its way from my belly to the outside world in a few weeks, I am already thinking about the moments that will be missed.

For the rest of my days, I will tell my children stories of their grandpa. I will tell them about the time I didn’t want to tell grandpa that I had a school field trip because it meant grandpa would have to make me a packed lunch. As a single parent who was working full-time, I understood how difficult things were for him, as much as a seven-year-old can, and I didn’t want to burden him with one more thing. As he dropped me off at school, he saw that there was a bus waiting for us, and asked me what was happening. I lied and said I didn’t know. He walked up to my teacher and asked if there was some sort of field trip, and she said there was and asked if I had told him. At this point, he told me to get back in the car, and drove me to a nearby 7-Eleven and bought me a sandwich, some Funyuns, a Sno-Ball, and a Welch’s grape soda, and the attendant packed it up in a brown paper bag that was as big as me. I didn’t usually bring a lunch to school, but when I did, my granny packed me what I refer to as “the monochromatic lunch”. The brown bread bag served as my lunch bag, and inside was a peanut butter sandwich with wheat bread, some graham crackers and some Saltines. So on this field trip day, unintentionally or not, my children’s grandpa made me feel like a princess. I had the best lunch of everyone on the bus that day. I was the envy of all my classmates.

And I will tell my children about the time their grandpa took our family to Tijuana, Mexico. When we arrived, he gave each of us $20 to spend however we wanted. Among the food and souvenir stalls, there were some young children with tin cans begging for money, and I can remember explicitly looking at them and then looking at my dad. The look in my dad’s eyes spoke volumes, asking: who has the luxury of having that cash to spend on anything she wants, and who needs the cash to survive? I thought of how I might get change for my $20, keep half for myself and give these children half, but ultimately, the look in my dad’s eyes prompted me to give one young boy the entire Andrew Jackson bill.

Throughout my life, my dad and I have shared a bond through music. He introduced me to some of the greatest musicians of all time and has taught me to appreciate all genres. He educated me in listening to the grief and exultation in lyrics, and the soul in a voice that wants to cry but chooses to sing. He bought me Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks at the exact time I needed it in my life, encouraged me to listen to John Lennon’s “Mother” time and again, and was eager to share with me his enthusiasm for Glen Hansard.

This Father’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite father-related songs, written by fathers for their son or daughter, songs about fathers, about confrontation, regret or grief, songs which have often brought tears to my eyes or provoked me want to shake what my mama gave me, songs which I will share with my children no matter how embarrassed they seem to be with my taste in music.

Happy Father’s Day, dad. To borrow Abba’s words, thank you for the music.

Neil Young – Old Man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVC2cszdTao

James Brown – Papa Don’t Take No Mess

Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven

Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely

Bruce Springsteen – My Father’s House (covered by Ben Harper)

John Lennon – Beautiful Boy

Pearl Jam – Release

Harry Chapin – Cat’s In The Cradle

The Temptations – Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Cat Stevens – Father and Son

Mike & The Mechanics – The Living Years

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvxmypqMwFk

Category: General, This Parenting Stuff

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