Tag Archives: daughter

Top Five Songs

Faithful readers know that I enjoy using music (and other videos) in my posts. I will share a mini soundtrack or look at life events through songs (“20 Years of Marriage”). So, the idea of my top five songs was a fun idea, until I tried to decide on the songs!

I thought about different ways to present the top five: by favorites, connections to memories, and even by the depth of the lyrics (an idea that I am saving for a later post). For this post I decided to share a favorite song from each decade that reveals something about me. A creative way to show you different sides of me. So, grab some headphones and get ready to listen to some good songs and get to know me a little bit.

70s

Artist: Gerry Rafferty

Song: “Baker Street”

I will send a photo of the radio display to family and friends when this song comes on the radio. The lyrics for this song, especially the first verse, connect with me. The underlying idea that life will be better tomorrow is a universal theme, and so is the cost of living that way.

80s

Artist: Living Colour 

Song: “Cult of Personality”

This decade was tough to choose. Music is a big part of the teen years. Listening to songs before games, jamming out in the car while cruising, and in the 80’s making mixtapes (“Throwback: Mixtapes”). When this song came out, I was an instant fan. You could find me singing this song in the hallways of school (I still sing in the hallways).

90s

Artist: Prince

Song: “The Love We Make”

Anyone who truly knows me knew Prince would make this list. Choosing the decade and the song has been the hardest aspect of this list. Prince has some seriously deep spiritual songs. “The Love We Make” is the closest song I know that reflects my own spiritual views. I had to share a live version of the song.

2000s

Artist: Lupe Fiasco

Song: “Superstar”

I would sing this song at bedtime to my oldest daughter. It was on the playlist for my track team when we would have to practice indoors. The song’s lyric, “If you are what you say you are, a superstar, then have no fear…” is a perfect line for all the activities I was involved in during the 2000s.

2010s

Artist: Thirty Seconds to Mars

Song: “Closer to the Edge”

This song started the decade and would highlight all the change that happened for me during those ten years. There were some really tough times for me, especially professionally. Yet, one of my best memories is dancing to this song in the kitchen with my second son.

Wow, this was a tough list. Going through the music brought back memories, both good and bad. Here’s to the next decade and all the good music to come.

Tomorrow I will write about the top five characteristics I think you need to live your best life.

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The Power of a Father

I have over six different drafts of this post. I have different introductions, pop culture references, links, and music in the rough drafts. The issue I want to talk about is the power of fatherhood. More specifically the devastating power of not having a father in a child’s life.

I have been working with the idea of doing a series of posts about what it is really like to be a dad, but an episode of Happy Days got me thinking about the effects of not having a father in my life and the effect it has for other kids. I had never seen the episode of Happy Days before. My youngest daughter likes the show Happy Days. We watch the show on MeTV. One Sunday afternoon the episode, “Arthur, Arthur,”  was playing. The episode is part of the last season of the show. By the end, I was in tears.

The story line of Fonzie and his dad is highlighted in season 6 with the episode, “Christmas Time”.

My story is different.  I have shared parts of that in a past post (Life Lessons About Fatherhood). The feelings of abandonment, anger, and questions of why are similar, though.  But in “Arthur, Arthur” there is a moment that rocked my soul. I have tried to find a clip of the episode, but there is not one to be found. In the episode Fonzie finds out his father has died. That changes everything. Fronzie expresses how he always hoped that someday he would be able to see his father. That while his dad was alive there was always a chance to understand why his dad left. A chance to heal the emotional wounds. With his dad passing, that opportunity was gone. Fonzie would never get to know why. The wounds would never fully heal.

The episode ends with Fonzie showing the broken gold watch his father wanted him to have. He wasn’t going to get the watch fixed because it represented his dad the way it was. A broken watch for a broken relationship.

I understand how Fonzie felt… in my own way. But that specific pain of a son (or a daughter) not having a father in their life is almost universal.

This song was released my senior year of high school. By that time, I hadn’t talked to my father for about eight years. But had lived with three step-dads and a few boyfriends that my mother had. The lines “I didn’t write these pages / And my script’s been rearranged.” expresses one of the perspectives children have when a parent leaves them.

Being abandoned by people who are supposed to guide you in this life is devastating. I know I am focusing on fathers, but the same holds true for mothers. 

There are too many kids trying to navigate this life on their own. And they write their stories with a foundation of loss, of uncertainty, and a deep sense of not being enough, not being loved because their parents are not there. 

I am not a perfect father or husband. But I try every day. And maybe that is the hardest part of looking back. I am raising six kids. Even though I make mistakes, I try to make sure they know they are loved. It is not easy, but I am proud of my kids. I am proud of the home I have built.

But everyday I wonder why wasn’t I worth the effort?

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That’s My Song

Title with cassette tape

We are in the second week of school. We have our routine. Part of it is the drive to school. We have a certain radio station we listen to, we talk about the upcoming day. This morning my youngest daughter was enjoying the drive to school because the radio seemed to play all her favorite songs.

As soon as the music for the next song started to play she would say, “Ooohhh, I like this song!” Then she would read the title of the song off of the display and start singing along.

Singing with her, I was reminded of the simple joys in life.

Especially right now. Life is different. Part of our routine is making sure everyone has their mask for school. As a nation, I feel like we are crumbling under the weight of all the lines drawn in our society. Political. Cultural. Pandemic Issues. So many issues dissecting us, cutting up our sense of community and identity as a nation.

These are troubling times.

Yet, the simple joys intertwine in our daily life. A good cup of coffee. Hot cheese bread at dinner. Snack before bed… and a daughter who likes the next song on the radio…

“Ooohhh, I like this song!”

One of the songs we jammed out to…

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There is only the moment.

Yesterday was the first day of school for us. A little different with masks and all the cleaning requirements, but overall, a somewhat normal day. It was nice to have a sense of normal life. But this post isn’t about the pandemic or school… it’s about bubbles.

My youngest daughter wanted to play outside after dinner. I will admit to being tired and tempted to tell her no. She was still excited from going to school, and I could see she needed to spend some of that energy, so we went outside.

She decided to play bubbles. I would make the bubbles while she chased them down. Then I got my turn to run after bubbles. We also took a small walk to the “second stop sign” (it is a boundary marker we use for their freedom to run around the neighborhood).

There was nothing more to life than bubbles and my daughter. Nothing more than smiles with random conversation. My youngest daughter can talk forever.

Without making this a deep post about the theory of Flow, I will simply state that life is this moment. We do worry about the future. We do fight the chains of the past. Life can be difficult. But in the middle of political turmoil, a pandemic, hate and division, the first day of school… I felt joy as my daughter chased bubbles.

All we truly have is this moment.

Decide how you are going to live it.

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Skip a Rope

I am a sucker for countdowns. Every weekend I listen to the top 40 countdown from the 80s on XM radio as I run errands. Over the last couple of days XM has been broadcasting their top 1000 country songs of all time. So of course I’ve switched over to that channel at times just to listen to the countdown for awhile. I’m not a huge country music fan, but I enjoy certain songs and artists. I flipped to channel 30 and Tim McGraw’s “My Next 30 Years” was playing, so I left the radio on the countdown. Next was Tracy Lawrence’s “Time Marches On”.  I was enjoying the countdown. As the next song started, I could tell it was a classic country song. Since I was into the countdown I decided to listen. I’m glad I did, it got me thinking about life.

The song was the only number one hit for Henson Cargill, “Skip A Rope”.

I had never heard the song before. It was released in 1968. Besides the music, sadly, this song could have been written today.

Can’t we do better?

Seriously, I could share so many links to news articles about kids being abused or neglected by parents. There is a never ending supply of examples of the hate we generate in our society.  Links to heartache. Examples of cheating.

Can’t we do better?

I know that I can not save the world. It’s hard not to get downtrodden with the never ending negative examples on the news.

What I can do…

Is read a book to my daughters tonight before bed.

Is say hello to a stranger with a smile.

Is return the shopping cart to the cart corral (even the ones sitting between cars around me).

Is smile when I see my wife at the end of the day.

What I know for sure is that I can try every day to live this life with love. To be a little more humble and kind (yes, this was on the countdown).

 

 

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Oh! Hello!

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More Stars

Last night my oldest daughter had pep band for a volleyball game. I had gotten the three younger girls to bed, so I headed out to the school to wait for my daughter. It was a clear, cool night so I opened the moonroof in the minivan.

I parked in the faculty parking lot. There was not much light pollution there, so I could see the night sky filled with stars. I turned off the minivan, leaned the seat back a little and just enjoyed the view. Without getting deeply personal, stargazing is a spiritual activity for me. As I enjoyed the moment, a thought shot across my mind… then my heart. I was looking at more stars than I had days left to watch them.

In a crazy moment of thought and feelings, I sat up. I actually got out of the van to get a better view of the sky, with that thought running through me. I was seeing more stars than days I had left.

I could tell the game had ended because people were exiting the building, walking toward their cars. I knew my daughter would soon be coming. She sprinted out of the doors looking for me. As she got into the van she noticed the moonroof was open. “Awesome!” she said.

She spent the ride home gazing up at the stars. She told me how much she loved the night sky. I didn’t share my insight. My daughter was in a joyous mood. She had every right to be.

I wish I could say my epiphany made today great, but it didn’t. I am actually in a somber mood, but not for the reason you might think.

What would a day look like? A classroom? A home? If we truly lived with the understanding that we have only so many days? How would we react if our personal night sky lost a star everyday… as our days dwindled… as our sky turned dark? Would we then choose love?  Would we then choose to pursue or dreams?

I know the idea is not new… but last night I realized that there are more stars in the sky than days I have to view them… I’m not going to miss any opportunities.

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Conclusion to LIFE Series.

It is 11:45 p.m. as I write this. This post will probably go live in a few days. I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about writing a conclusion to this series.

This series was centered on an idea I had as I sat on the floor waiting for my daughters to finish Cinderella Jr practice. Their performance was last week. Life moves on.

My oldest son is about two months away from starting college. Life moves on.

Earlier this evening my wife and I watched the twelfth Star Trek movie (one more to go). Each summer we try to watch a series of movies or TV shows. Life moves on.

Life happens every day. We choose to walk our path with love or something else. We have family and friends that share time walking with us. That’s L.I.F.E. and no matter how much we don’t want it to, life moves on.

I hope this series got you to think about your life. To consider how important love is to all the aspects of this life. Maybe to reconnect with a friend. To live your best life today, every day. Because life moves on. And you don’t get any of these days back.

 

Till the next post…

 

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Little Treasures

My morning routine is different this year. My wife heads to school with our two middle daughters. My oldest son usually heads to school soon after. I wait another 40 minutes to take my youngest daughter to preschool.

This week my daughter and I have been playing a game she created, “Treasure.”

We start at the front door.

Our river.

Which is really a river. We cross the river by rope, or bridge, or however she decides we can cross. Next, we find a treasure hiding in the jungle (living room).

Our treasure chest.

On the drive to preschool she retells of our adventure with joy in her voice.

But what I have discovered this week is that little treasures are everywhere. Most of them are right in front of us.

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I Love School

This morning my youngest daughter informed that she loved school.

“Dad, I love school!” my daughter randomly exclaimed from the backseat.

“That’s cool,” I replied.

“Dad… Do you want to know why I love school?”

“Yes, little one. Why do you love school?”

“Because I get to do jobs.”

Now, we had been discussing the fact that this week she was music helper. Next week she gets to be “fish helper.”  Other jobs that I am aware of are line leader, lunch helper, and some job that is connected with the activity areas in the classroom.

My daughter is five years old. School is pretty awesome.

What happens?

Where does the joy go for students?

This post is not going to answer that question. It is too big for a simple blog post. But my daughter reminded me that for most students, the start of their school experience is filled with joy. With a love for helping. Filled with anticipation to feed a fish, pass out music sheets, and to enter the doors of their school every morning.

I can’t change the whole landscape of education with a blog… but for grammar today we are using Grammar Rock… at least the students will be humming in the hallways.

Hopefully you will, too.

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