All I Want for Christmas is my IPOD

In the past month or so I’ve made several frantic searches around the house to turn up my missing IPOD.  It disappeared sometime after my families’ long summer trip to Greece and before my pre-Thanksgiving travels.  I was preparing to make a road trip up to Grand Forks, North Dakota to visit my dad (who was recovering from a foot injury) when the tale of the missing IPOD reared its ugly head.  The thing is, you never realize how much you miss something that is a staple in your life until it is gone.  So I found a workable substitute:  my toddler’s 16 gigabyte IPOD Nano.

Before you go all crazy on me and say that there is no way a two-and-a-half year old should have her own IPOD (what kind of parents are these people anyway?), I should let you know that it was actually passed down to her by my 16 year old, who has since moved on to the better pastures of his 64 gigabyte IPOD Touch.  (*Sidenote:  We were also the parents who didn’t let our teenager get a cell phone until he was almost 16.  There you have it.)

But the mystique is not really all in what the IPOD is, it is in what the IPOD does.  It is ultra portability of musical experience – defined.  And THAT, is what really had been missing from my life.  MUSIC.  As my toddler and I cruised down the highway on the five  hour stretch back home, the tunes on her IPOD reconnected me with my life.  It wasn’t just stacked up with the children’s music playlist including assorted hits from the Laurie Berkner Band. Her IPOD actually had remnants of what my son had burned onto it, as well as many faves of my husband that were downloaded to the device before it was ‘officially’ passed down to our toddler.  It also included many songs from my musical must have’s list that accompanied the two of us on our trip to Crete, Greece, in the spring of 2011.  It was a veritable collection of all the musical tastes that have developed in our household over the many years we have grown together.  A veritable song diary.  And it made me remember just HOW important music is in our families’ life.

My husband and I bonded early on in our dating years over our mutual affection for alternative, and especially, punk rock music.  Being somewhat of a chameleon when it comes to my musical interests (and other tastes in life in general), I brought to our relationship a far wider range of musical selections than he did.  While he might have touted Janes Addiction, the New Bomb Turks, or Rocket from the Crypt – I had everything spanning from The Pharcyde  to The Smashing Pumpkins  to The Beatles. Everything except an affinity for modern country (don’t worry Johnny Cash, you still have my heart).

Music has defined my life as I have progressed through its many different phases.  It has the power to soothe and to evoke passionate or inciteful, and powerful emotions.  It has the power to turn a horrible, soul crushing day around into an empowering, uplifting day. It also has the power to bring back emotional and physical experiences I was going through at the time each particular song was at the forefront of my continuously evolving personal playlist.

Road trips are good times for reflection and I pondered this:  what has happened to our lives without the prevalence of music?  My husband and I used to take time to search out shows to see.  I can’t remember the last time we went to one together.  We used to take our son to shows with us as well.  The first time he saw Avail, he was probably 10, at the Triple Rock Social Club.  Before that, we took him to various other places, including First Avenue (a staple of the downtown Minneapolis music scene for the last four decades) to see NOFX, to the Myth to see Rancid, to The Fine Line to see Less Than Jake, and to the 7th Street Entry to see Rancid.  Yep, we took him to Rancid twice.  At one of the shows we went to at First Avenue, I was approached by a group of teenagers who were amazed with the ‘cool parents’ who would actually take their kid to a show.  What did their parents do with them when they were prepubescent?  What did they feel was so cool about what we were doing that they cared enough to mention the absence of this something special in their lives?  Believe me, to get a teenager to talk to you at all, is like winning Ed McMahon’s million dollar sweepstakes – something you hope for, but never, ever count on – so it must have been pretty special.

Our teenager has told us many times over the years that he was proud to have had such young parents who liked to do fun things (I had him when I was eighteen and met my husband when my son was almost two).  The connection we have had with our son more than made up for the seeming lack of connection we felt with many parents of his friends who were always older than us.  Apparently they had already gotten the ‘fun’ out of them by the time they started having kids.  They were ‘old parents.’

In our household we are now more likely to pull a CD from the stack of toddler music than we are to pull some vinyl out of the closet and give it a spin.  We have a fourteen year gap between toddler and teenager.  We have aged, our priorities have changed.  With this second family, I have to wonder:  are WE the old parents now?  Have we officially lost our ‘cool parent’ status?  Our teenager would probably nod yes aggressively in response.  We don’t go to shows anymore.  We don’t blast music from my husband’s assorted grouping of early 1990’s stereo equipment.  Vinyl is more likely to collect dust bunnies than revolve.  Have we officially reached ‘old parent’ status?  *shudder*

As I was driving down the road the other day, an Avail (punk rock) song came up on our playlist.  My toddler vibrantly reflected, “I like this song.”  Maybe its time to reinvigorate the musical well in our household.

I want to know:

  • What do you do in your family to pass along your musical heritage to your children?  What did your parents do?
  • Have you been missing music in your life?
  • How do you include music in your life?
  • What tunes speak to you right now?
  • Have you ever taken your kids to a real show?

And if you can’t handle the suspense any longer, the case of the missing IPOD has been solved.  I discovered it during a reorganizing project I was working on in our third bedroom, as we prepare to make room for another baby in the house.  It was in one of my packing cubes for traveling.  Merry Christmas to me indeed – AND a Happy New Year!

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~ by urbanwandernlust on December 16, 2011.

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