Sunday, March 24, 2013

Good parents don't have to perfect...

This is a picture of my dad when he was in college. My dad was a musician who played saxophone and piano. He got his bachelors degree in Composition and Arranging at Amherst University. I posted this because I want to talk about parenting. My father was an alcoholic. He sat in a chair and listened to music at concert loudness levels every night while he drank. My room vibrated because the speakers were right underneath my bedroom.  He died when I was 14.

But my dad loved me deeply. He drank at home rather than goto a bar because he wanted to be near his family and provide a stable environment and though that may sound like a cop-out, it wasn't. He played songs just for me. Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" was my song, and I knew when he played it, he was thinking of me. He played it often. It was the reason I put the song on my second record, Bare, as a similar tribute to my first daughter. My father was proud of the musician I was turning into as a child. He was a brilliant student and he wanted his children to be brilliant so if I ever asked him what a word meant or how it was spelled, I was told to goto the dictionary. Grrrr...But I do this with my child now.  He loved to fish and shared that love with me. He took me fishing and taught me how to bait a hook with a worm. He loved that I could play piano and loved that I played his favorite composer, Bartok. He would tell me that my compositions I made up at age 7 or 8 were "Complex! You don't even know what you're playing!!" We used to swim in the pool together and he would lift me up like the female side of a ballroom dance team or pairs ice skating in the water while I did what I thought were fancy poses. He taught me to dive and swim underwater. He told me this about life: "The school of hard knocks is a tough school...." that's all he said. I have learned he was right. 

He was not perfect. But he was was my father. He worked hard to provide the best life he could for me. He made choices that were not always the best for him, but did his best to make the right choices for me.  Perfection is not the goal because it can never be achieved. Many get to be parents. Some are better at it than others.  But I wanted to share that good parents aren't great all the time and don't always lead the greatest lives. This is my dad and he did his best. He strived to be a good parent, and in many ways he truly was...I hope I turned out the way he wanted...

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