If I was a smart person I would save this post for around Father’s Day. And really it can be applied to Mom’s too, but I am a Dad. I have a Dad brain that contains Dad thoughts. I can’t grow a baby in my belly or nourish that baby with milk from my body that just seems to appear out of nowhere. But I sure can get that ball rolling, am I right fellas?
It’s inspiring to be a Dad. It makes me want to sing. I have noticed that as the musicians I love age, they start dropping that inspiration into their songs. So, I thought I would make a playlist of Dad songs, written by and for Dads. This post may seem a little self congratulatory or self indulgent but I am okay with that. I love music and I love being a Dad, so why can’t I get a little personal and reflect on these things when they align so perfectly.
Really, I was inspired to write this post for a couple of reasons.
(Reason 1) I went with my kids to go see Annie last week. My wife was supposed to go with them. She and the kids love Annie and this was supposed to be a Mommy and daughters outing. Alas, she was out due to an injury so I had to step up. Going in, I expected to have neutral feelings about the movie, but this was not the case. Annie moved me. I actually got a bit weepy at the end. It was a combination of the movie actually being pretty good for what it is and me relating to the Daddy/daughter theme. Sitting there with my girls and being surrounded by other girls (who presumably have fathers too) singing out loud to all the songs, I got a little big picture/life is wonderful vibe that made me happy with tears.
(Reason 2) Recently Pal, you wrote about Dad’s not getting any respect as adequate care givers in the eyes of other mothers, teachers, daycare workers, etc. I totally relate to that. How about random people in the mall who approach my daughter to wipe her nose? Oh my goodness I hated that. The gaul. Who would just go up to someone and do that. What if I, as a man, just went up to a strange kid to adjust his collar or whatever? I might get slapped or a stink eye or a stern talking to. But other women can (on more that one occasion mind you) walk up to my kid and wipe her nose and I am supposed to be thankful that someone had the common sense to clean my child because of course I am such an idiot Dad that I have no f@&@ing idea what I am doing. Well guess what lady, I know my kid’s nose is running. It does that. It does that all day. It’s like this fluid perpetual motion machine, flowing snot out from her nose into her mouth then back up the nostrils and out again. Over and over and over in perpetuity. I am okay with that. Sure, I wipe it occasionally, but not constantly. Why doesn’t this lady think to herself, “oh I’m sure he will get to it eventually”, and just leave it alone. I bet a million bucks that she would if it was a mother pushing her forever snotty child in a stroller down the mall hall. Oh no, of course Dad’s are perceived as not equal contributors to the well being and rearing of their young ones and need help when called upon to do the simplest parental task. Bullshit!
(Real Reason) I love my kids and I know they love me back. I just wanted to write about it.
Dark Side of the Moon – Chris Staples
This one really speaks to me. It’s a beautiful song, touching on the idea of wanting to give all that you can to your kids while you are with them. In whatever form that is. An ideal that I am working to live up to. And it’s not just the monumental moments. Even if it’s mundane like driving them to swim class, chewing them out for lying, helping with homework or listening to them fight in the back seat about the dumbest stuff. There is only this time to live with them. Soon enough they will want to leave. Soon enough they won’t need me or my wife, and that is a little heartbreaking. This song reveals the fact that I selfishly want to be apart of every aspect of their lives.
I wanna love you, I wanna pass it on
I wanna give and give,’till it’s all gone
I wanna know you, while we have the time
Cause that’s all I got to leave behind
Little Garçon – Born Ruffians
This is a simple diddy of a song. To put it into Dad context, it’s simply about playing with your kids. Those moments when you are just lost in whatever you and they are doing. Pure joy. Oh, I just want to live there forever. How do I get the key to that place, lock out the entire world and just stay there forever? But of course I have to tend to the requirements of adulthood and I can’t always be their best pal. But at heart I am just like them. I want to play with them all day.
I don’t care just where you go
As long, as long as it’s with me
And I don’t mind just what you do
As long, as long as it’s with me, too
I get told to never get old
But the weight unfolds
I’m a little garçon in my head
With the little feet that’s stuck in bed
Foolish Father – Weezer
I railed against people who discount Dads as sensible caregivers. I will admit to the fact that as a general person I can be a bit scatterbrained, irrational and impulsive. I don’t always make all the right decisions for my kids. Thank goodness I have a smart wife to keep me in check (as best as she can). That said, it is all done with love so it can’t be all that bad, can’t it? This Weezer tune sums that all up for me. When my kids are older and have those lingering pangs of resentment toward me (Breakfast Club style), I am going to sit them down, turn the volume up to 11, and play this song to them. Then I’ll walk away from them and raise my fist in the air.
Forgive your foolish father
He did the the best that he could do
You are his daughter
He’d do anything for you
First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
This song is not directly about Dads. For me, it is about my children’s connection to their mother. Picture the delivery room. The Dad is really not needed if you think about it. Other than morale support, the whole experience is really a mother/child one. When the baby is born, they don’t put the child on the father’s chest to bond. That would be ridiculous. No, the first eyes that child sees is their mother’s. This song makes me think of witnessing that experience. As Dads, we are just humble observers to that connection. It starts in the delivery room and remains for life. Just like breast milk, I will never know what that feels like.
Yours is the first face that I saw
I swear I was blind before I met you
Don’t know where I am
Don’t know where I’ve been
But I know know where I want to go
So I thought I’d let you know
These things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realized that I need you
And I wondered if I could come home
Gracie – Ben Folds
This is an insanely saccharin song, but in a really great way. Ben Folds wrote it specifically to his little girl Gracie. It’s a love letter to her. In it, he recognizes the unique bond of father and daughter. Maybe it’s not as potent at mother/child, but it is still terribly meaningful. It’s a knowing reflective song directed at Gracie but really understood by Ben. He knows these things but she hasn’t realized them yet. It’s a terribly pretty song. The song feels like a home movie montage of all the cute things that kids do. Walking for the first time, making messes, tea parties, birthday parties, etc.
You can’t fool me, I saw you when you came out
You got your momma’s taste but you got my mouth
And you will always have a part of me
Nobody else is ever going to see
Well, That’s it Pal. These songs always make me emotional. Maybe they might stir your Dad soul too.