Our Story Begins:
Including Your Kids
One of the biggest healing things for me over the last four and a half years has been music. After my wife passed away I was more than a bit lost. Music simply brought me to a place where the white fog of grief wouldn’t carry me away from sanity. Sure, there were songs that meant a lot to my relationship with my wife. I still have a hard time with the Eric Clapton song Wonderful Tonight because I danced at my wedding to that song. Still, the ability to pick up a guitar, gently play, angrily beat on, or artfully strum out a song or write something was more than therapeutic.
In the past year or more I’ve been far more active musically than I have in years. I have written material, I’ve recorded demos for an album I hope to soon record. All of it inspired by or prodded on by the healing over the last few years.
When a group of very dear friends and insanely talented musicians asked me to join a group to play when we could, rehearse or maybe even play live, I jumped at the chance.
This is far more than the old days of “bowling night” for Dad or “Bunko” night or whatever you want to call the nights parents get to have adult time. This was a group of musicians whom I admire and consider very dear friends.
So what do you do with your kids when something this time-consuming and intensive comes along? You include them!
Our band had a gig to raise money for a local dog rescue and we’d practiced for quite awhile beforehand. My kids came to rehearsals. The night before the gig my son helped by tuning my newly-strung guitars up.
He also acted as my guitar tech, handing me the guitars I needed to change for different songs. He hooked up the guitar pedals on the stage for me. He’s learning to play guitar and it was great to see the wonder in his eyes as he stood on the stage and looked out, included in what he always assumed was an adult thing, his Dad’s domain.
Then came the highlight of the evening. We included our kids. The two guitar players and their kids – one on percussion, the other on acoustic guitar – on the stage together. We played a complicated Allman Brothers song, the guitar lines harmonizing with each other, the rhythm changing, the keyboard swirling in the background. The nerves my daughter had felt seemed to melt away as I watched her start to smile when the drums kicked in behind her. At one point I saw my son backstage with his eyes wide and smiling when the harmonized electric guitars started to wail into the crowd.
By the night’s end . . . and it was very late . . . we were on the way home and my daughter couldn’t come down from the high of playing onstage for the first time. “You guys sounded so great,” she said! My son chimed in: “when the guitars were harmonizing, Dad, that sounded so cool! It was amazing!”
I do this because music is important to me. I see melody and harmony all around me but I included my kids because they are important to me, too. So when the two worlds met it made me the happiest Dad in the world. Not because my kids were amazed by what they heard (though that was very, very cool) but because they were part of something spectacular.
What about you? Do you see your kids doing things with you? Have you done projects with them, too?