There are lines in songs or books, maybe even a film that strikes a chord with people. We all have that one bit of philosophy that we go back to, that one song that catches our mood in a particular moment. The phrase from a movie I love is ‘Mother is the name for God on the lips and heart of all children.’ Believe it or not, that was uttered by Brandon Lee in the movie ‘The Crow.’ Not a film you’d want your kids to watch just yet.
Now I have a song which my eldest and I adore. When I was ‘younger,’ I used to listen to artists with my dad, and I associate them with him. For example, Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers. There is one song that I associate with him more than any, and it’s ‘Yesterday’ by Paul McCartney. Straightforward and reminiscent, I can see why he loves it so much, it makes you realize how easy being a child was.
One song my siblings and I associate with our father is Cat Stevens ‘Father and Son’.
‘Take your time
Think a lot
Think of everything you’ve got.”
Sounds exactly like something our father would say to us.
He isn’t strict and has never tried to rule over what we do or study, he’s always been supportive in our dreams and has encouraged us in every way possible. His goal as a father was for us to be happy. If that meant being homeless, so be it. Obviously, it’s not what any parent wants for their children, we all want them to be successful and to lead a comfortable life and to be there to help them up when they fall.
My father has always been a proud man, he stands straight dresses well, never a hair out of line. He is personable, in his appearance as well as his mannerism. He is one of those people who’s outer appearance reflects who he is inside. You can see that reflected in my siblings (it helps my stepmom is as impressive as him).
I’m different, I’ve never been able to have that kind of aura and charisma. I can be excitable; I act before I think leading me to say some of the dumbest things you’ll ever hear. Still, I don’t show my emotions very well or at all.
DD3 is very much like my paternal family. She knows what she wants, she is sure of herself, has her own fashion sense and is decisive. Instead, DD1 and I are alike; we are quiet.
Last week, while at school, she found a couple of horrible notes aimed at her. She took them to the teacher, and that was the end for her. The teacher came to find us to tell us what happened and what the school was doing about it. In all this, my daughter didn’t seem fazed. They recognized her for the way she acted in class, by not crying or acting the victim.
I know that deep down she must be seething. I know that because that’s how I would react. The noise inside my head drives me to distraction at times.
Now, my situation is a bit more delicate. My father was taken in for major surgery, scraped through by the skin of his teeth and had to spend some time at the hospital. I was due to go and see him. I had booked my coach ticket, packed a bag, and was ready to go. At the last minute, my partner and youngest got sick. The baby was vomiting and sleeping, and my partner couldn’t keep awake. This change in plans was not how things were meant to be. I was in a situation where I had to make a decision, and neither of them was going to be the right one.
Do I become the uncaring son or the bad dad? In my head, these were my choices. Family comes first but which side? I won’t tell you which decision I made, all I’m going to say is that there’s a faction of my family that was very disappointed in me (to put it mildly).
So, this brings me to the song that I share with my daughter.
The first part starts:
“The selfish they’re all standing in line
Faithing and hoping to buy themselves time
Me, I figure with as each breath goes by I only own my mind.
My mind was mine to make up on that day.
Looking at me from the outside
I could have seemed unfazed by it, but I wasn’t, that’s why
I know that after her ordeal, my daughter’s mind must be in turmoil. However, she seems to have taken a part of the song which she sings as loud as she can when it’s on as Eddie Vedder’s voice booms in its baritone:
“I know I was born and I know that I‘ll die
The in between in mine I am mine.”
That’s life summoned up in a few words; we have to make choices and decisions we don’t want, but in the end, it’s what we make of our life that counts.
I hope that my children never have to make a choice like mine but if they do, I hope it’s the right one for them, whichever it may be.